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View Full Version : Optimism is a brain defect



lant3rn
12th October 11, 05:47 PM
http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-10/biased-brains-help-humans-always-look-bright-side-life?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pulsenews


To study optimism, they examined how people under-estimated the impact or possibility of future negative events, because this “it-can’t-happen-to-me” feeling has implications for how people protect themselves. The research team gave participants a list of 80 different negative life events, including getting Alzheimer’s disease, being fired, being cheated on by a spouse, and so on. They were asked to rate how likely they were to experience these events, and then they were told their actual probability for experiencing the events. Then they were asked to estimate their own likelihoods of experience again. The scientists monitored brain activity during these tests

I'm hoping the researches come up with a better metric to judge the value of the trait but i'm not holding my breath.

Ajamil
12th October 11, 06:52 PM
I don't know if I'd call the "it-can't-happen-to-me-mentality" optimism. Optimism is confidence in an ultimately positive outcome in your plans, not the idea that bad things won't happen to you.

lant3rn
12th October 11, 07:05 PM
I don't know if I'd call the "it-can't-happen-to-me-mentality" optimism. Optimism is confidence in an ultimately positive outcome in your plans, not the idea that bad things won't happen to you.
They defined it differently in the study. i don't agree with their diffinition either but they gave a clear outline of what they meant by 'optimism' in the context of the study

Ajamil
12th October 11, 10:34 PM
Fair enough, but they also said it was uniquely human. How are you supposed to tell that? I suppose we're the only ones as always who communicate it. That doesn't mean other animals don't show a habit of "it-won't-happen-to-me" behavior.

As for the cause, did they consider an evolutionary one? In the long run taking risks is more beneficial to reproduction than estimating a higher chance of failure or harm. Thus more creatures that will under-estimate risk will appear?

Dr. Socially Liberal Fiscally Conservative Vermin
13th October 11, 06:14 AM
[url]I'm hoping the researches come up with a better metric to judge the value of the trait but i'm not holding my breath.

Pessimist

EvilSteve
13th October 11, 08:50 AM
​OH GOD WE'RE ALL FUCKING DOOMED!

Cullion
13th October 11, 09:08 AM
In the long run taking risks is more beneficial to reproduction than estimating a higher chance of failure or harm. Thus more creatures that will under-estimate risk will appear?

I think, in reality, they'll just find that people are bad at judging risks. I'm sure there are a lot of people who underestimate their chances of dying of cancer, whilst overestimating their chances of being a victim of violent crime, for example.

Ajamil
13th October 11, 10:22 AM
True, humans have a terrible blind spot for probabilities.

nihilist
13th October 11, 11:04 AM
There are people on this very board who believe they can win lotteries and talk to imaginary sky friends so I think you're wrong.

Hedley LaMarr
13th October 11, 03:32 PM
I'm sure there are a lot of people who underestimate their chances of dying of cancer, whilst overestimating their chances of being a victim of violent crime, for example.
My guns and I have no idea what you are talking about.

lant3rn
13th October 11, 08:14 PM
I was hoping culion might have more to say about the topic since he constantly exploits this trait in people to troll them mercilessly.

Dr. Socially Liberal Fiscally Conservative Vermin
14th October 11, 07:45 AM
Optimism is a great evolutionary driver.

lant3rn
14th October 11, 01:40 PM
Optimism is a great evolutionary driver.care to expand on this

Cullion
14th October 11, 02:32 PM
I was hoping culion might have more to say about the topic since he constantly exploits this trait in people to troll them mercilessly.

I don't know what you mean.

lant3rn
14th October 11, 04:18 PM
I don't know what you mean.someone gives an opinion. Then you give you're critique.

When they give a rebuttle that does not properly take into acount the contrary information given in your critique, you troll them untill they either give up or get angry.

rinse and repeat.

Your debate with eplipson is a good example of this technique

Cullion
14th October 11, 04:24 PM
I am going to have to switch things around and use new methods.

Dr. Socially Liberal Fiscally Conservative Vermin
14th October 11, 04:24 PM
¦:¬ O

Cullion lant3rn used you're wrongly!

Cullion
14th October 11, 04:28 PM
that's okay. I make typos and grammatical slips all the time. I only bring it up to piss somebody off.

Dr. Socially Liberal Fiscally Conservative Vermin
14th October 11, 04:32 PM
So benevolent

lant3rn
14th October 11, 04:55 PM
Don't change your methods cullion, stick with what works. You even have empirical evidence now to back your methodology.

bob
14th October 11, 07:10 PM
I like to troll parents about paedophilia.

"OMG I think I'd kill anyone who touched my kids!"
"Well, statistically it's overwhelmingly likely to be you doing the touching."
"....."

Ajamil
14th October 11, 09:45 PM
When they give a rebuttle that does not properly take into acount the contrary information given in your critique, you troll them untill they either give up or get angry. Well that's really their fault, isn't it? First thing I learned in panel debates was to stick to the topics and rebuttals brought up, or critique why such a point/rebuttal should be dismissed. I remember winning a debate about bald being better than having hair because the opponents let us get away with equating it to clean being better than messy.

Hedley LaMarr
14th October 11, 10:04 PM
I remember winning a debate about bald being better than having hair because the opponents let us get away with equating it to clean being better than messy.
Well being bald is much cleaner. It also makes it harder to do a hair test for drugs.

Dr. Socially Liberal Fiscally Conservative Vermin
15th October 11, 06:15 AM
care to expand on this

Optimistic people tend to be more opportunistic for instance.

Cullion
15th October 11, 06:20 AM
I used to troll divorce-support forums. I'd interrupt rants about the ex-partner with some supportive words, followed polite questions, followed with some variation of 'OMG don't you realise that this is actually all your fault? Wow, you're a terrible person!'.

Ajamil
15th October 11, 10:34 AM
I've seen some incredible mental gymnastics by people who are a priori convinced that things just aren't their fault. Ever.