Scientific studies have shown that the feeling of losing is psychologically stronger than the feeling of winning. This fear of losing seems to have a huge impact on how we make decisions. Thus, it has been shown that if we face up to the possibility of a potential loss we are more inclined to take risks than if we’re facing a potential win. A similar experiment was conducted with Capuchin monkeys. The results showed that the monkeys behaved exactly like men, proving that our behavior when faced with the risk of losing has been an ingrained reflex for at least 35 million years.
Applied to the art of presenting, this data is essential. It teaches us that if we want to convince our audience to take a risk, we have every interest in communicating what they stand to lose, rather than what they could gain.
This research led Kahneman, expert in cognitive psychology, to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002.