Give that you are at least a little bit health conscious, and you are choosing which piece of meat to buy in the supermarket; until you come across a choice:

Meat A: 20% fat

Meat B: 80% lean

Which one would you pick?

If you chose B, you are just like everyone else – victims of negative dominance.

Definition of Negative Dominance – “Holding objective magnitude constant, bad things hurt more than good things feel good.” (Gilovich and Ross, 2015)

In layman’s term, it means that we rather not lose out than to gain something; even if they are essentially the same thing: 80% lean meat = 20% fat meat. Therefore the aptly coined term, negative dominance.


I’m sure you can already tell how has this got to do with framing (not the one where you get someone else in trouble, mind you). When framing a choice to individuals, if possible, frame the choice as: if you don’t choose A, you are going to lose out on (blank). Trust me, it will make your chance of successfully persuading anyone about twice as high.

I shall remind again, use it morally

As much as I endorse the use of such technique for myself, I do it morally. Benevolence, clarity and harmless persuasion in intentions are mandatory; you don’t want to become a manipulative scum because things will be worse for you in the long term – people are going to not trust you and it’s going to just make your life worse off.

Shield yourself and your love ones

Tell them about negative dominance, and if someone happens to portray your choice in a manner that makes you lose out if you don’t abide; don’t fall for it. I think it’s about time I consider consolidating a handbook called Survival Tips against Sales Techniques 101 with all credits going to the field of social psychology😂


Now you know what’s negative dominance, how you can use it for framing (for clarity and harmless persuasion, nothing more) and how to guard against it; you just became even more awesome than before 🙂 

Signing off,



Gilovich, T. and Ross, L. (2015) The wisest One in the room: How you can benefit from social psychology’s Five most powerful insights. Philadelphia, PA, United States: Free Press.


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