Study Finds Even Optimists Tend To Expect The Worst

Photo: tshortell/Getty Images
Photo: tshortell/Getty Images
You're not the only person this year has done a number on. Turns out optimists (you know, the one group of people who are supposed to be happy) aren't as optimistic as we thought. A study conducted by psychology professor Kate Sweeny and graduate student Angelica Falkenstein from the University of California, Riverside wanted to measure how different people receive news, and it turns out everyone is bracing for the worst.

Although researchers originally believed that those with a more "happy-go-lucky" personality would be less anxious while awaiting certain types of results, Mic reports, the nine controlled scenarios published in the Journal of Personality prove otherwise. "Counter to intuition, optimists were not immune to feeling a rise in pessimism at the moment of truth," Sweeny said. "In fact, not a single study showed a difference between optimists and pessimists in their tendency to brace for the worst."

Scenarios included people waiting for the results of the bar exam or getting feedback on an intelligence test.

While this might sound depressing at first, turns out bracing for the worst is probably helping us cope. The study posits that this outlook shields us from disappointment, even it means worrying way more than necessary. At least we're not stewing in our misery alone.
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