Saturday, September 24, 2011

Moderate Optimism and Extreme Optimism


Alina Tugend offers a nice overview of recent research on optimism and pessimism. The verdict? "... Moderate optimism may be good for you, extreme optimism is not. And at times some pessimism is helpful."

Here's how the moderates deal with life:

Moderate optimists, on the other hand, work longer hours, save more money, are more likely to pay off their credit card balances and believe their income will grow over the next five years.

How about the extremes?

“Extreme optimists don’t think savings are good, don’t pay off their credit cards and don’t do long-term planning,” Professor Puri said. “They think the economy will always do better.”

They are also more likely to remarry if divorced. [Bold emphasis added]

2 Comments:

  1. MP said...

    I would add a "drivel" tag to this. First, it is vacuous. Because it says something like "monkeys tend to do monkey-like things". Second, it is circular, because, unlike the case of monkeys, they don't have a way of classifying optimists independent of their actions/words. Third, because of the above two reasons, this result doesn't pass the "Grandma test" of psychology (which goes, "what does this say that my grandma doesn't already know"?)

    As Hazel Henderson correctly observed, Economics is a brain disease. It is book-keeping gone wild. An Obsessive Quantification Syndrome that takes over the brain cells, making them behave in a runaway fashion, to the point where the book-keeper is incapable of judging the results of the quantification sensibly.

    Unfortunately, the runaway book-keepers have managed to convince the world that their perspective on the world is optimal and should be the basis of running governments. The lunatics have taken over the asylum.

  2. WebMiner said...

    MP, much wisdom in what you say about economics. I am extremely optimistic that Tugend will soon be forgotten.