Research Suggests That Optimism Feels Good. However, Does It Always Feel Good?

835 words - 4 pages

We suggest that the benefits (and costs) of optimism and pessimism depend on their timing. A study of exam score estimates revealed that, after controlling for actual exam performance, optimistic expectations are unrelated to how people feel immediately before feedback, in contrast to the common wisdom that optimism “feels good.” Furthermore, optimism has costs after feedback—participants who predicted higher scores before feedback felt worse after learning their scores. Finally, people seem to be aware of the potential costs of optimism—participants who predicted higher scores before feedback also anticipated experiencing greater disappointment should they perform poorly. These findings suggest that people may proactively manage their expectations to avoid the costs of optimism. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)

Emotional intelligence is a mental process that includes (1) appraising and expressing emotions in self and others, (2) managing emotion in self and others, (3) adaptively using emotions to guide behaviour and solve problems
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” –Winston Churchill
if we told ourselves we cannot do it, most likely we cannot get something down. However if you told yourself you can do it, you are more likely to be able to succeed.
Bad impressions and bad stereotypes are quicker to form and more resistant to disconfirmation
Bad feedback is remembered for longer and with greater accuracy. Bad emotions have a stronger intensity than good emotions

Negative mood Bottom-up processing enhanced
More critical thinking
Longer, more elaborate processing strategies Less creative and open
Systematic, analytic, vigilant processing
More situationally aware
By definition, pessimism is synonymous with negativity, doubt, distrust, cynicism, or lack of optimism. When individuals display these attributes, they are categorised as pessimistic regarding the subject matter. An additional complication for the American culture is that many individuals have developed a pessimism syndrome that has had a debilitating effect on their attitudes regarding life, work, and performance (Mazarr 1998).

Defensive pessimism is a strategy used to alter the meaning of failure by holding unrealistically low expectations for tasks where one’s performance will be evaluated (Norem & Cantor, 1986a; 1986b). This strategy ‘protects’ students that are afraid of failing by cushioning them against debilitating anxiety prior to stress-provoking tasks (Cantor & Norem,...

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