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Audacity of nope: How lockdown divided pessimists and optimists

The pandemic has vindicated pessimists. But it has also revealed the limits of negativity bias

Much as we naysayers like to self-identify as realists, negativity saps our sense of agency and takes a toll on the soul. Illustration: Hannah Berry

In April, on the day the UK finally began opening up again, I was not among those hardy revellers sipping al fresco pints in snow and sleet. Nor was I at the hairdressers, much though my bedraggled barnet could use expert attention. Instead, I was sat at home reading up on vaccine side effects and Europe’s third Covid-19 wave. I didn’t have to look hard for those gloomy counterblasts to the jubilation. They were dished up by a news cycle that disproportionately favours the bad, and seems to have grown only more asymmetrical.

And it’s not just the…

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