Difference Between Positive Feedback and Negative Feedback

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: October 20, 2023


Difference Between Positive Feedback and Negative Feedback

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Feedback is any information we receive on return as a result of our performed actions. It is like a burnt tongue after tasting a piping hot soup. Feedback is the sweat dripping from an individual’s forehead after giving his/her 100% in the gym, and feedback is like a bed of roses in the garden. All of these examples are the information we receive as a result of our actions. In our day-to-day lives, we receive feedback from the world either in a positive way, negative way, or neutral way. Apart from communication and workplace feedback plays a key role in homeostasis also.

Positive feedback helps motivation and boosts confidence to show the value of the people. It helps people to enhance and develop their skills. Positive feedback motivates students and encourages them to continue doing the work. It proves effective when an individual recognizes his/her actions and obediently delivers them. For example, an employee is a good team player and performs well. Positive feedback in homeostasis is the amplified or magnified change in an output. The effect of response is amplified so that it can occur in a faster way. In this way, the output of the feedback system is obtained.

 On the contrary, Negative feedback is the received criticism in correction or advice for something with a need for improvement. It highlights the gaps, errors, and problems of the thing which need to be fixed. Negative feedback gets an individual closer to the customers in a business. If an individual negatively receives feedback, then that feedback is the chance to not only improve the business but also a great opportunity for them to build a relationship of trust with the customers. The improvement shows that the receiver is listening to their sayings. On the other hand, in homeostasis negative feedback serves to reduce an excessive response and to keep a variable within the normal range. It includes a stimulus, sensor, control center, and effector.

Positive Feedback vs. Negative Feedback

Positive feedback is praise, recognition, or appreciation for something done in a good manner. It increases confidence, motivation, and satisfaction. Positive feedback works on the premise of building on a person's strengths. It tells an employee if he is doing well and praises him/her for good performance. The simple theory behind positive feedback is that if an individual is appreciated for his/her work, then the individual will repeat the behavior in the same manner with an improvement. Positive feedback can be given formally or informally. For example, formal positive feedback can be given in a performance evaluation, and informal positive feedback is common during a workday made by seniors.

On the contrary, Negative feedback is the process of pointing out the work done poorly by an individual and asking him/her to change it. It involves telling a person that his/her displayed attitude is inappropriate or that specific habits are causing problems. Negative feedback is delivered when the individual's actions are intentional or even when the actions are unintentional. This approach tends to make them defensive. Sometimes on receiving negative feedback they stop listening to them and try to defend their action rather than learning from the feedback. Negative feedback focuses on behavior that was not successful and should not be repeated.

On the other side, Positive feedback and negative feedback are the most integral parts of homeostasis in the section of biology. Both the feedbacks are useful, but they have different effects and purposes on the body systems. To understand the difference between them, it is important to get a view of the concepts, their roles, functions, types, and other things.

Difference Between Positive Feedback and Negative Feedback in Tabular Form

Parameters of ComparisonPositive FeedbackNegative Feedback
DefinitionPositive feedback is a feedback mechanism that results in the amplification of growth of the output signal.Negative feedback is a feedback mechanism that results in the inhibition or the slowing down of a process,
TypePositive feedback is a less frequent mechanism.Negative feedback is the more frequent mechanism.
ProductionIn Positive feedback, the product feeds back to increase its production.In Negative feedback, the product feeds back to decrease its production.
SecretionPositive feedback stimulates secretion further when hormones are increased.Negative feedback stimulates further secretion when hormones are increased.
ExamplesFor example – blood clotting, and childbirth (Oxygen).For example – body temperature, blood pressure, PH and Co2 levels, and blood glucose levels.
Signal PhaseIn Positive feedback, feedback energy is in phase with the input signal.In Negative feedback, feedback energy is out of phase with the input signal.
GainIn Positive feedback, the gain increases.In Negative feedback, the gain decreases.

What is Positive Feedback?

Positive feedback is also referred to as exacerbating feedback or self–reinforcing feedback. It is a process that occurs in feedback look, which exacerbates the effects of small disturbance. The effects of a perturbation on a system include an increase in the magnitude of it.

In simple words, Positive feedback is the feedback that amplifies or magnifies the change or output. The response effect is magnified for the fast occurrence. In this way, the output of the system is enhanced. The direction of the response is in the same direction as the initial change in the positive feedback. It results in a self–reinforcing loop. That is why, it is also called a positive feedback loop.

Positive feedback is a pattern of behavior in which a positive outcome is generated from an initial act. For example, the execution of a profitable trade gives an investor the confidence to engage in other similar acts with the hope of positive outcomes. But sometimes it leads to adverse outcomes. The investor after experiencing gain may overestimate himself and his abilities and underestimate luck or market conditions. This will lead to overconfidence in the future.

Positive feedback mechanisms are rare. The best example to understand it is the release of oxytocin from the posterior oxytocin stimulates the muscle contraction that pushes the baby through the birth canal. It results in stronger contraction during labor. Until the baby comes outside the birth canal. The contractions will only increase. When the stimulus ends the production of oxytocin is stopped, and the baby is born.

There are many examples of positive feedback mechanisms. Each example depicts the working of the positive feedback mechanism:-

  • Blood Clot Formation – When a wound causes excessive bleeding, the body responds with a positive feedback loop to clot the blood and stop bleeding. The substances released by the injured blood vessel wall begin the process of blood clotting. The platelets start clinging to the injured side and release chemicals that attract additional platelets. As the platelets continue clinging, more chemicals are released and vice-versa. The positive feedback accelerates the process of clotting until the clot is big enough to prevent blood loss.
  • Childbirth – When the fetus's hand presses up against the cervix it stimulates nerves that send the message to the brain to stimulate the pituitary gland, which produces oxygen. Oxytocin causes the uterus to contract. This makes the fetus closer to the cervix, which leads to the production of oxytocin until childbirth and the baby comes out from the womb.
  • Ripening of Fruit – When a fruit is ripe, a gas is released, known as ethylene. Nearby fruits also get exposed to this gas and begin to ripen. As the other fruits also ripen, they also release ethylene gas. The exposure to ethylene gas makes the ripening process faster.
  • Menstrual Cycle – The estrogen hormone starts to release in the ovary before a female ovulates. It travels to the brain and causes the secretion of two other hormones. The hypothalamus is activated to release the gonadotropin hormone. The pituitary gland is stimulated to release luteinizing hormone. In two luteinizing hormone enhances the release of oestrogen. The increase in the repose of these hormones and follicle-stimulating hormone leads to ovulation.

  There are four major components of primary feedback.

  • Stimulus- Stimulus is an external substance that disturbs the homeostasis of the body. Homeostasis is the process of maintaining balance in a body system. The stimulus is provided by controlled variables. It causes the optimum range to move or fluctuate from the normal range. Some cases of stimulus include physical injuries, infections, or any kind of fluctuation in the external environment. They disrupt the physiological functions of the body.
  • Sensor- A sensor is commonly known as a receptor. It detects and transmits a physiological value to the control center. After measuring the value, it will be transmitted to the feedback controller.
  • Control Centre- The Control center compares the extent of fluctuation to the normal value. Apart from receiving the signals from sensors, it also processes the information. The control center detects the changes and compares them with the normal values. If the value is not within the range of optimum, an immediate signal to the effector is sent by it to maintain body equilibrium.
  • Effector- The effector can be any muscle, organ, gland, or any other structure. It gives a response to the stimulus according to the received signal from the control center. The effector either enhances or opposes the stimulus. Its response depends on the command received by a control center. For example- the result of positive feedback in the case of labor is the contribution of the uterus. So, the effector organ, in this case, is the uterus.

What is Negative Feedback?

Negative feedback is also referred to as balancing feedback. It occurs when some function of the output of a system, process, or mechanism is fed back in a manner that tends to reduce fluctuations in the output caused by the changes in the input or by any other disturbances.

A negative feedback loop is a normal biological response in which the effects of a reaction slow or stop that reaction. It helps to regulate health and ensures that a reaction is appropriate and the systems of the body are in a constant state of equilibrium which is known as homeostasis. When a system falls out of homeostasis, the body reacts with hormones, enzymes, and other substances to correct the imbalance. The negative feedback loop puts the brakes on the reaction effectively after homeostasis is achieved and systems are stabilized.

Just like the Positive feedback loop Negative feedback system is activated by stimuli and eventually leads to modifications that tend to cancel out the impulses. The overall procedure for Negative feedback includes the following steps:-

  • Stimulation – The first stage of the negative feedback loop is the creation of the stimuli.
  • Reception – There are receptors located in the body through which changes or deviations in parameters are noted.
  • Processing – The brain serves as the loop control unit, determining if a change in physiological parameter necessitates loop Activation or inhibition. The brain sends the signals to erase the alteration in different ways depending on the direction of departure.
  • Counteract on the Stimulus – The control unit sends the signals at the end of the loop to cancel out the impacts that cause changes in physiological variables. Changes can take various forms and can be directed at different sections of the body.

Some examples of Negative feedback are:-

  • Blood Pressure Regulation – The baroreflex provides a negative feedback loop for controlling blood pressure in such a way that heart rate falls when Blood pressure rises, and vice-versa when Blood pressure falls. It results in the modulation of Blood pressure fluctuations.
  • Osmolality Regulation – Osmoreceptors in the interior hypothalamus tonically stimulate magnocellular neurons to secrete ADH. Lowering the osmolality reduces ADH secretion, and increasing plasma osmolality increases it. This leads to the formation of a Negative feedback loop, as ADH retains water by action on the kidneys.

Main Differences Between Positive Feedback and Negative Feedback (In Points)

  • Positive feedback is the feedback that amplifies the change rather than working to oppose, while Negative feedback is the feedback that works to oppose the initial change.
  • The idea of Positive feedback existed in the 1920’s when the regenerative circuit was made. On the other hand, the idea of using Negative feedback in electronic amplifiers came in 1927.
  • Positive feedback moves away from a target point, whereas Negative feedback moves towards a target.
  • Positive feedback bolsters the stimulus and increases productivity, while Negative feedback reduces the effect of the stimulus and decreases productivity.
  • Positive feedback is less observed than Negative feedback as it is less initiative. On the other hand, Negative feedback occurs more frequently among the body’s homeostatic mechanisms.
  • Positive feedback is less associated with the stability of the system whereas, Negative feedback is more associated with the stability of the system.
  • Positive feedback sometimes requires external interruption, while Negative feedback does not require any sort of external interruption.
  • In Positive feedback, the response is the same as the original stimulus. On the other hand, in Negative feedback the response is opposite to the original stimulus.


In short, Positive feedback and Negative feedback are two important concepts that play key roles in the proper functioning of the body system. While Positive feedback is used in many biological systems, Negative feedback is a crucial part of homeostasis in biology.


  • albert.io
  • circuitglobe.com


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"Difference Between Positive Feedback and Negative Feedback." Diffzy.com, 2023. Tue. 05 Dec. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-positive-feedback-and-negative-feedback>.

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