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  • The optimists will say that this glass is half full, while the pessimists proclaim it's half empty.

  • Of course, others may suggest that it's completely full of all the atoms that made up water and air.

  • Others still might remind you that atoms are 99.99% empty space,

  • making the glass...mostly nothing!

  • But in all seriousness,

  • can science explain your emotional perspective and outlook on life?

  • It turns out, it may not be in your control.

  • Research has shown that those with two long alleles on specific genes controlling for serotonin

  • are more likely to focus on positive images - like someone enjoying ice cream

  • - compared to those with a short allele on the same gene,

  • who are more likely to focus on negative images - like someone being robbed.

  • Variation in the oxytocin receptor gene can also affect your outlook;

  • Individuals with two copies of guanine are noted to be more optimistic with higher self-esteem,

  • while those with copies of adenine were less positive.

  • So it seems that people may be genetically susceptible to pessimism.

  • Interestingly,

  • optimists are less likely to be rehospitalized after coronary artery bypass surgery,

  • show higher academic achievements and even better socioeconomic status.

  • But it's not all good; they can overestimate their abilities and underestimate risk.

  • Pessimists, on the other hand, have a more realistic view of the world, are more cautious when planning for the future and may even live longer.

  • A landmark study spanning 20 years found that

  • pessimists use a cautious approach to their finances and health,

  • avoiding risky behaviours such as smoking and excessive drinking,

  • ultimately giving them the last laugh - literally - over optimists.

  • But, statistically, most of us are hardwired to lean towards optimism.

  • Known as the Optimism Bias and found in around 80% of the population,

  • we tend to overestimate the probability of positive events occurring in the future,

  • while grossly underestimating the probability of negative ones.

  • For example, even though the divorce rate can be as high as 40%,

  • most newlyweds predict their probability of getting divorced at...0%.

  • Chances are, when you imagine your future, it's usually better than your current situation.

  • Furthermore, we often imagine ourselves

  • as being more intelligent, sociable and honest than other people.

  • When we look at the brain,

  • we actually see the left half exhibits increased activity when imagining positive events,

  • whereas during negative events the right half's activity does increases,

  • but to a much lesser degree.

  • This suggests that the brain chooses to ignore

  • and filter out negative information and focus on positivity.

  • Our perspective is, whether you're genetically predisposed to see the glass as half empty or half fulldon't waste water and just drink the damn glass already!

  • This actually reminded us of another common saying though,

  • thatGiving is better than receiving” -

  • but is that scientifically accurate?

  • We answered that one over on AsapTHOUGHT

  • with a special giveaway which you can click here or use the link in the description to check out.

  • Special thanks to Audible for supporting this episode

  • and giving you a free audiobook at your choice at "audible.com/asap."

  • This week we wanted to recommend the book "The Wright Brothers"

  • which is the amazing story behind the brothers who taught the world how to fly -

  • while staying optimistic through all the challenges they faced!

  • You can get a free copy at audible.com/asap

  • or any other of your choice from a massive selection!

  • We love them as they are great when you're on the go.

  • Don't forget to ask your burning questions, and subscribe for more weekly science videos.

The optimists will say that this glass is half full, while the pessimists proclaim it's half empty.

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Is This Glass Half Empty?

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    Diana T. posted on 2015/10/20
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