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Pollyanna effect


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A tendency for people to pay more attention in their thought and speech to positive than negative aspects of their conceptual worlds and to process positive information more easily than negative information. The term was coined in 1964 by the US psychologist Charles E(gerton) Osgood (1916–91) to explain the greater frequency of positive than negative words in written language: good occurs almost 10 times as frequently as bad, love almost 10 times as frequently as hate, and so on. See also mere exposure effect, trait negativity bias. [Named after Pollyanna Whittier, the ‘glad girl’, whose blindly optimistic and Panglossian disposition always led her to look on the bright side of things, in the novels Pollyanna (1913) and Pollyanna Grows Up (1915) by the US writer Eleanor H(odgman) Porter (1868–1920)]


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