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negative feedback

So-called negative feedback is feedback which tends to dampen, reduce or de-escalate. If this is the only influence on the system, or if it exceeds positive feedback, then, the system will tend to steady state.

Some people improperly use the term negative feedback when they mean critical point of view. Sometimes they unethically portray negative feedback as destabilizing when in fact it is stabilizing, if only due to discouragement. See operant conditioning, punish, and regression towards the mean.

To avoid confusion it helps to have clear images of what negative feedback means, e.g. that of a soap bubble - the forces pushing it outward, and the forces pushing it in, are balanced, and surface tension provides most of the negative feedback required to keep the bubble exactly round.

One could reasonably symbolize negative feedback by pi, since that describes the relation between diameter and the circumference, and any circular or cycling sort of process.