Public Release: 13-Dec-2016
Pessimists -- you aren't alone in feeling down
New study by UC Riverside psychology professor proves that even optimists get the blues
University of California - Riverside
Waiting for those tests results? Waiting to hear who won the election? And while waiting, does the feeling of dread start to creep in?
Turns out, as the moment of uncertain news draws nearer and nearer, bracing for the worst comes as second nature to optimists and pessimists alike. In a new study called "Even Optimists Get the Blues: Inter-Individual Consistency in the Tendency to Brace for the Worst," published in the Journal of Personality, Kate Sweeny, psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside, and Angelica Falkenstein, a graduate student in psychology at UCR, find 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," Sweeny said.
Sweeny said that although this 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. "Fortunately, it seems that even the most ardent optimists can temper their positive outlook when it pays to do so."