Optimism Bias

The more optimistic a person was, the higher the activity in these regions when imagining positive future events (in comparison with negative ones) and the stronger the connection between the two structures. When contemplating an accident such as a broken leg, rACC activity modulated signals in an area called the striatum, which conveyed the positive and negative aspects of the event in question, polarizing the activity in a positive direction. [Sources: 0]

Only recently have we been able to solve this mystery by scanning the brains of people who process positive and negative information about the future. We now turn to describing a new study in which we explore how people combine good news and bad news into their beliefs about the possibility of experiencing positive and negative life events, while trying to avoid the two pitfalls mentioned above. [Sources: 0, 11]

We find optimistic renewal biases for negative and positive life events. After correcting the mistakes we found in the experiment of Shah et al., it revealed the optimistic update error of positive life events. The optimistic update bias of positive incentives has been described previously (Krieger et al., 2014; Wiswall and Zafar, 2015). [Sources: 11]

Together, these relationships constitute a strong argument for true optimistic asymmetries in belief renewal. Based on this data, it is suggested that the rostral ACC plays a critical role in creating positive images of the future and, ultimately, in providing and maintaining an optimism bias. [Sources: 11, 15]

There is some evidence that personality optimism can interact with optimism bias and exacerbate the adverse effects of bias on information processing (Davidson and Pukachin, 1997), although this study measures optimism bias as the sum of risk scores for different events. No precise test is used. Although optimism bias comes from positive events (such as believing that you are financially more successful than others) and negative events (such as less likely to have alcohol problems), there is more research and evidence showing that bias is more Strong negative events (valency effect). [Sources: 10, 15]

Optimism bias is actually a misunderstanding that our chances of experiencing negative events are lower than those of our peers, while our chances of experiencing positive events are higher than our peers. This is called optimism bias: the tendency to overestimate the possibility of experiencing positive events in the future and underestimate the possibility of experiencing negative events. The belief that the future may be much better than the past and present is called optimism bias. Most of us have this tendency to overestimate the possibility of positive events that happen to us and underestimate the possibility of negative events. . [Sources: 3, 5, 7]

For example, people severely underestimate their chances of losing their job or getting a cancer diagnosis. People seriously underestimate the chances of divorce, unemployment, or being diagnosed with cancer; they expect their children to have extraordinary talents; imagine that they get more than their peers; and overestimate their possible life expectancy (sometimes 20 years or more) Long time). However, the data clearly shows that most people overestimate their chances of career success; they expect their children to have extraordinary talents; they miscalculate their possible life expectancy (sometimes twenty years or more); expectations They are healthier than ordinary people and more successful than their peers; they seriously underestimate the possibility of divorce, cancer and unemployment; in general, they believe that their future life will be better than their parents’ experience. [Sources: 2, 5, 7]

Part of the reason for the phenomenon of optimism bias is that we tend to present future events more vividly and positively, thereby making them more likely to happen,” says Shalott, whose book of the same title delves into this topic. Optimism bias is a misunderstanding. , Believes that our chances of experiencing positive events are higher than those of our peers, and our chances of encountering unwanted events are lower than those of our peers. [Sources: 4, 6]

You can also be optimistic about being overly confident about the objective chances of experiencing a positive event (or avoiding a negative event), no matter how much your odds compare to those of your peers. When comparing their own risk to that of others, people are self-centered because they focus more on their own risk factors than on those of their peers (Chambers & Windschitl, 2004); indeed, reducing this selfishness appears to weaken prejudice (Weinstein, 1983), and this self-centeredness can lead people to become unrealistically pessimistic about rare positive or common negative experiences (e.g. Chambers, Windschitl, & Suls, 2003; Kruger & Burrus , 2004). As for the optimistic bias, when people are confronted with the average person, regardless of whether they are of the same gender or age, the target is still seen as less human and less personalized, leading to less favorable comparisons between themselves and others. … People are less likely to experience an optimism bias when they encounter very close people, such as friends or family. [Sources: 3, 10, 15]

Research has shown that people are less optimistic when they are in negative moods and more optimistic when they are in positive moods. Quantitative data on the levels of optimism and pessimism in depressed patients showed that optimism bias was positively associated with low levels of depression. Optimism was also associated with physical health. Research findings that optimists live longer and healthier lives, coupled with the fact that most people display an optimistic bias, and emerging evidence that optimism is associated with specific genes, all strongly support this hypothesis. It is tempting to assume that optimism was chosen by evolution precisely because, in the end, positive expectations increase the odds of survival. [Sources: 0, 1, 5, 15]

Others believe that unrealistic optimism is a personality trait rather than a cognitive bias, and therefore more often expressed in certain groups of people, such as smokers or gamblers (Shah et al., 2016). Importantly, this series of studies overestimated unrealistic optimism as the concept of cognitive bias in human judgment and decision-making, and provided a mathematical formalization and neurobiological framework for this (Moutsiana et al., 2015; Kuzmanovic and Rigoux, 2017). In studies that included the following actions to reduce optimism bias, researchers found that these attempts were rare, such as educating participants about risk factors, encouraging volunteers to consider high-risk examples, educating participants and explaining why they are at risk middle. What did they give. This has changed, and in some cases even increased optimism bias. Respondents may also be asked to compare their risks to others with their own risks, which reduces prejudice (Otten & van der Pligt, 1996). [Sources: 3, 10, 14]

In other words, the difference between the first rating and the information provided (this is called the rating error) will be greater when participants receive bad news about positive events and when they receive good news about negative events. [Sources: 11]

Hence, it is a valid test of belief renewal using both types of life events. By selectively aligning our expectations with positive events, we can remain optimistic even in the face of negativity. Research shows that regardless of the outcome, whether successful or not, people with high expectations tend to do better. [Sources: 1, 7, 11]


— Slimane Zouggari


##### Sources #####

[0]: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/jan/01/tali-sharot-the-optimism-bias-extract

[1]: https://thedecisionlab.com/biases/optimism-bias/

[2]: http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2074067,00.html

[3]: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-the-optimism-bias-2795031

[4]: https://harappa.education/harappa-diaries/optimism-bias-meaning-and-examples/

[5]: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/optimism-bias-why-the-young-and-the-old-tend-to-look-on-the-bright-side/2012/12/28/ac4147de-37f8-11e2-a263-f0ebffed2f15_story.html

[6]: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/22/why-optimism-bias-could-be-unhelpful-in-a-pandemic-say-psychologists.html

[7]: https://fs.blog/the-optimism-bias/

[8]: https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20210427-how-optimism-bias-shapes-our-decisions-and-futures

[9]: https://www.coglode.com/research/optimism-bias

[10]: https://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/brp/research/constructs/optimistic-bias

[11]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5380127/

[12]: https://bmcpsychology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40359-020-0389-6

[13]: https://www.behavioraleconomics.com/resources/mini-encyclopedia-of-be/optimism-bias/

[14]: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.02001/full

[15]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optimism_bias