Not just pessimists, even optimists get the blues
Washington D.C. [USA], Dec. 14 (ANI): Be it an optimist or pessimist, as the moment of uncertain news draws nearer and nearer, bracing for the worst comes as second nature to optimists and pessimists alike.
The findings were published in the Journal of Personality. Researchers from the University Of California – Riverside found that there are no differences between optimists and pessimists when it comes to potential bad news.
"The tendency to brace for the worst is actually quite common," said psychology professor Kate Sweeny.
"Although this tendency to brace oneself for potentially bad news is common, intuition might suggest that some people are more likely to brace than others – in particular, happy-go-lucky optimists would seem immune to the anxiety and second-guessing that typically arise as the decisive moment draws near," Sweeny added.
The team tested this intuition in nine different studies, some involving undergraduate psychology students in well-controlled lab situations like waiting for scores on a test, or for ratings of their attractiveness from peers and others involving law graduates awaiting their bar exam results.
In each study, they assessed a participant's dispositional or natural tendency toward optimism and pessimism and then examined whether optimists were less likely to brace for the worst as they awaited uncertain news, compared to pessimists.
The studies found, counter to the intuition, optimists were not immune to feeling a rise in pessimism at the moment of truth.
"In fact, not a single study showed a difference between optimists and pessimists in their tendency to brace for the worst," Sweeny explained.
"These finding may have been surprising at first, it is clear that bracing for bad news has benefits — as this type of well-timed pessimism carries little emotional cost and it protects people from the harsh blow of unanticipated bad news," Sweeny noted.
"Fortunately, it seems that even the most ardent optimists can temper their positive outlook when it pays to do so," Sweeny concluded.(ANI)