Is the glass half-full or half-empty? Science knows your answer

Your emotional perspective on life all comes down to genes

Charlie Atkin
Friday 02 October 2015 11:06

The perennial question of whether the glass if half-full or half-empty may not be the best decider of whether you're an optimist or a pessimist anymore.

ASAP Science has released a video detailing how genes can explain your outlook on life and whether you're inclined to focus on the positive or the negative.

Watch the explanation here:

According to the research, some genes can increase one's focus on the positive in life, while others increase focus on the negative, effectively making someone genetically susceptible to optimism or pessimism.

Other research conducted by the video makers shows that optimists are less likely to be hospitalised after coronary bypasses and go on to higher academic achievement and better socioeconomic status.

However, they are also prone to overestimate their own abilities and underestimate potential risks, unlike a pessismist who is more realistic and cautious in their decision making.

Our genes may be the best indicator of optimism or pessimism

There is also an inherent 'optimism bias' in 80% of people, which causes us to envisage positive future events more often than negative ones.

As an example, in America the divorce rate is around 40% but most newlyweds estimate their chance of divorce at 0%, although saying otherwise would perhaps speed that particular process along quicker than you may even want to admit.

The brain is also proven to respond to positive events more generously, as the left half shows increased activity when imagining positive events but with negative events, the right half of the brain is active to a much lesser degree.

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