In psychology and cognitive science , the positivity effect is the ability to constructively analyze a situation where the desired results are not achieved; but still obtain positive feedback that assists our future progression. When a person is considering people they like (including themselves), the person tends to make situational attributions about their negative behaviors and dispositional attributions about their positive behaviors. The reverse may be true for people that the person dislikes. This may well be because of the dissonance between liking a person and seeing them behave negatively. Example: If a friend hits someone, one would tell them the other guy deserved it or that he had to defend himself.