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What Is Magnification/Minimization? | Assertiveness Basics

  • Magnification and Minimization are Cognitive Distortions, automatic irrational thoughts.
  • They refer to misattribution of significance: we think that certain things are more – or less – important than they actually are.
  • Magnification or Augmentation means exaggerating the importance of a certain aspect of a situation, even when existing evidence would support a different conclusion.
  • Minimization means to attribute less significance to a certain aspect of a situation, even when existing evidence would support a different conclusion.

Examples of Magnification and Minimization

“My friend is late for our meeting. What if they had a car accident?”

There are plenty of other reasons for which a person could be late for a meeting. When the conclusion we draw is the worst possible scenario, this form of magnification is called “catastrophic thinking”.

“I don’t have to wear the seatbelt when driving.”

This is a minimization of danger. Data show that wearing your seatbelt provides extra safety.

How To Manage Magnification and Minimization

Try to find a balance between the data available to you about a certain context and the results of your decision-making processes.