Report Science: 80 percent of humans are delusionally optimistic.

Discussion in 'News Archive' started by tom_mai78101, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. tom_mai78101

    tom_mai78101 The Helper Connoisseur / Ex-MineCraft Host Staff Member

    Most of us hold unrealistically optimistic views of the future, research shows, downplaying the likelihood that we will have bad experiences. Now a study in Nature Neuroscience last October has found clues to the brain’s predilection for the positive, identifying regions that may fuel this “optimism bias” by preferentially responding to rosier information.

    Tali Sharot, a University College London neurology researcher, and her colleagues asked 19 individuals between the ages of 19 and 27 to estimate their odds of experiencing 80 unfavorable events, such as contracting various diseases or being the victim of a crime. Participants were then told the actual average probability of each before repeating the exercise.

    The participants revised most of their estimates the second time around, but 79 percent of those tested paid much more attention when their actual risk was lower than what they had initially guessed. After getting the good news, these subjects rated their risk for these events as significantly lower than they did earlier. In contrast, when they had underestimated their odds of meeting with a particular misfortune, they made less drastic revisions to their guess or none at all—clinging to their earlier belief that they would probably avoid the bad luck.

    Read more here.
  2. Ninva

    Ninva Retired

  3. Accname

    Accname 2D-Graphics enthusiast

    They asked 19 individuals???
    What is wrong with the studies these days? They dont even try to convince anybody anymore.
    It is as if researchers nowadays believe that we are all stupid or something and cannot read half of their reviews.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Bronxernijn

    Bronxernijn You can change this now in User CP.

    a group of 19 individuals is not a valid sample size. Experiment discredited.
  5. DDRtists

    DDRtists ɹoʇɐɹǝpoɯ ɹǝdns Staff Member

    Bingo. Besides, is there a negative side to being delusionally optimistic? If you believe the better of things, and your mood is benefited due to this, I don't see why this is a bad thing. Would the rather people be pessimistic? Lol
  6. FireCat

    FireCat Oh Shi.. Don't wake the tiger!

    That study sucks. Well, they could at least test 15000 individuals! Right?
  7. Slapshot136

    Slapshot136 Divide et impera

    you really need about 1000 or so in order to get proper diversity - after that it depends how close your findings are if you should get a larger sample or not, and what your ultimate goal is: if it's for some type of medicine, you will need a larger sample to prove it's safety, etc.
  8. Darthfett

    Darthfett Super Mod Staff Member

    The writer of this article is 80% pessimistic.
  9. DDRtists

    DDRtists ɹoʇɐɹǝpoɯ ɹǝdns Staff Member

    I invite you to give us your better study from your group of 15,000+ people. Until then, I don't really think you have much room to say it sucks. It's more than you're doing. :)
  10. FireCat

    FireCat Oh Shi.. Don't wake the tiger!

    The world's population is around 6,974,289,820 + and counting.
    So a group of 19 individuals of that number. hmm So it doesn't sucks?
  11. phyrex1an

    phyrex1an Staff Member and irregular helper Staff Member

    The purpose of the study was to find which brain centras that was active when adjusting ones personal believes, not finding how many who are "delusionally optimistic". 19 people is a decent sample size when doing brain scans, though they probably still needs to add caveats for cultural differences. Reading the article you'll find that they do a statistical significance test that at least can't be considered obviously wrong at a first glance, but keep in mind that their sample isn't selected from the entire human population.

    Reading the articles abstract and it becomes crystal clear that they consider human delusional optimism a priori for the purpose of the study and are only concerned with the brain patterns that are observed when being overly optimistic.
  12. Accname

    Accname 2D-Graphics enthusiast

    So you say this article is showing the study in a wrong way?
  13. Varine

    Varine And as the moon rises, we shall prepare for war

    New headline: 15 people are delusionally optimistic.
  14. phyrex1an

    phyrex1an Staff Member and irregular helper Staff Member

    No. I'm saying that the article talks about both the study and the body of knowledge that existed before the study was made, and that you are conflicting the two. Possibly because the article doesn't make that distinction obvious and that Toms title here at thehelper ("Science: 80 percent of humans are delusionally optimistic") talks about the previous research but the news articles title ("Neural Responses Reveal Our Optimistic Bent") talks about the study. I'm guessing that the news article title was changed after tom made his post here, probably because it isn't representative of the news article content.

    The study wasn't about how many % of the population which are "overly optimistic", but it's consistent with previous research which showed that. This is precisely what the news article says, if you take your time reading where the different information comes from:

    This line presents what the new study resulted in.

    This line presents how many of the 19 people in the study which had the "optimism bias". Don't conflict this with a statement about the population at large, it just says that 15 people of the 19 had the effect they wanted to study (they actually study 2 different kinds of bias, but the other one was present in 100% of the tested individuals).

    This line presents the reason for believing that the "optimism bias" exists in the population at large, and that the new study doesn't offer any evidence to the contrary.
  15. Accname

    Accname 2D-Graphics enthusiast

    I dont read the articles in general beyond what is shown here at the helper.
    In the part of the article shown here, the intention of the study is not getting clear for me at all.
  16. phyrex1an

    phyrex1an Staff Member and irregular helper Staff Member

    I agree. We can't reproduce the article in it's entirely here on thehelper (due to copyright issues and because we think it's rather unfair too the news sites). If it's a topic that interests you too the degree that you want to comment on it I recommend that you read the entire news article first. Tom makes an awesome job posting interesting science news but it's not always that the portion he posts here gives the entire story ^^
  17. Accname

    Accname 2D-Graphics enthusiast

    I wouldnt waste my time to read an entire article if i read somewhere at the beginning that the sample size is 19 people. I think this was an unlucky quote from the article.
  18. FireCat

    FireCat Oh Shi.. Don't wake the tiger!

    Well, they did test 19 individuals But the number "80 percent" It's Just a old number from the past.

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