Document Detail

The optimism bias.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22153158     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
The ability to anticipate is a hallmark of cognition. Inferences about what will occur in the future are critical to decision making, enabling us to prepare our actions so as to avoid harm and gain reward. Given the importance of these future projections, one might expect the brain to possess accurate, unbiased foresight. Humans, however, exhibit a pervasive and surprising bias: when it comes to predicting what will happen to us tomorrow, next week, or fifty years from now, we overestimate the likelihood of positive events, and underestimate the likelihood of negative events. For example, we underrate our chances of getting divorced, being in a car accident, or suffering from cancer. We also expect to live longer than objective measures would warrant, overestimate our success in the job market, and believe that our children will be especially talented. This phenomenon is known as the optimism bias, and it is one of the most consistent, prevalent, and robust biases documented in psychology and behavioral economics.
Tali Sharot
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2011-12-05
Journal Detail:
Title:  Current biology : CB     Volume:  21     ISSN:  1879-0445     ISO Abbreviation:  Curr. Biol.     Publication Date:  2011 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-12-13     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9107782     Medline TA:  Curr Biol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  R941-5     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Department of Cognitive, Perceptual and Brain Sciences, Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, 26 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AP, UK.
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