Affec­tive Death Spiral

TagLast edit: 3 Oct 2020 3:08 UTC by Swimmer963 (Miranda Dixon-Luinenburg)

An affective death spiral (or happy death spiral) occurs when positive attributes of a theory, person, or organization combine with the Halo effect in a feedback loop, resulting in the subject of the affective death spiral being held in higher and higher regard. In effect, every positive thing said about the subject results in more than one additional nice thing to say about the subject on average. This cascades like a nuclear chain reaction. This process creates theories that are believed for their own sake and organizations that exist solely to perpetuate themselves, especially when combined with the social dynamics of groupthink. Affective death spirals are thus a primary cause of cultishness.

The same process can also occur with negative beliefs instead of positive, leading to a death spiral of hate.

Blog posts

See also

When None Dare Urge Restraint

Eliezer Yudkowsky8 Dec 2007 23:09 UTC
109 points
123 comments2 min readLW link

Re­sist the Happy Death Spiral

Eliezer Yudkowsky4 Dec 2007 1:15 UTC
84 points
45 comments6 min readLW link

Guardians of Ayn Rand

Eliezer Yudkowsky18 Dec 2007 6:24 UTC
110 points
122 comments5 min readLW link

Ra­tion­al­ity Read­ing Group: Part J: Death Spirals

Gram_Stone24 Sep 2015 2:31 UTC
7 points
4 comments4 min readLW link

Every Cause Wants To Be A Cult

Eliezer Yudkowsky12 Dec 2007 3:04 UTC
114 points
40 comments3 min readLW link

Un­crit­i­cal Supercriticality

Eliezer Yudkowsky4 Dec 2007 16:40 UTC
108 points
174 comments4 min readLW link

Cul­tish Countercultishness

Eliezer Yudkowsky30 Dec 2007 0:53 UTC
93 points
33 comments9 min readLW link

Don’t Re­vere The Bearer Of Good Info

CarlShulman21 Mar 2009 23:22 UTC
125 points
72 comments3 min readLW link

[SEQ RERUN] Affec­tive Death Spirals

MinibearRex14 Nov 2011 5:34 UTC
6 points
0 comments1 min readLW link

Affec­tive Death Spirals

Eliezer Yudkowsky2 Dec 2007 16:44 UTC
97 points
45 comments2 min readLW link

My Child­hood Death Spiral

Eliezer Yudkowsky15 Sep 2008 3:42 UTC
64 points
106 comments4 min readLW link