Broadening the field of enquiry to other Asian societies, such as India, underlines the complexity of the relationship of self-enhancement and self-effacement to comparative optimism. Psychol. In contrast lower SES Indians were comparatively pessimistic about good events on average expecting their chances of experiencing these events to be 2.6% less than other people like them. Mind, Body and Wealth: A Study of Belief and Practice in an Indian Village. Srinivas, M. N. (1962). Those who underestimate the risk, take less action. However the English middle aged participants in the current study showed a clear pattern of unrealistic optimism on negative events, very similar to patterns of unrealistic optimism found in adult and student samples in North America. It was notable that many of the substitutions consisted of events in the lives of close relatives rather than in the life of self, and that this disproportionately affected the list of good rather than bad events. However, some studies have found evidence of optimistic bias in non-Western interdependent cultures. In India, participants were recruited by face-to-face invitation and specific residential locations were targeted in an attempt to match the type of occupations sampled in England. An entirely different explanation for self-enhancement has recently been suggested by Loughnan et al. J. Psychiatry 184, 10–20. Traits related to optimism include hardiness (the tendency to appraise … (2011). Judd, C. M., Westfall, J., and Kenny, D. A. 98, 224–253. Are people excessive or judicious in their egocentrism? Psychol. The proponent of unrealistic optimism must then argue that unrealistic optimism would only manifest in the presence of genuine, self-relevant outcomes (i.e., in non-fictional scenarios). It has important implications in many economic and managerial contexts, yet economists, managers and policy makers still ignore it or fail to understand its … Proposing that base rate biases are more detrimental to the judgment of the probability of others experiencing events than they are to probability judgments concerning the self, the authors interpret the optimistic bias shown in their study as being related more to a “culture-free” cognitive bias than to a “culture-specific” motivational bias. These judgments were not affected by SES as a main effect or in interaction with nationality. 11, 93–102. Optimism bias is common and transcends gender, ethnicity, nationality and age. But in contrast, the lower SES Indian group on average showed pessimism regarding their chances of experiencing good events which came about through being outright pessimistic on some items and neither optimistic or pessimistic on the remaining items. They had been randomly selected from the complete staff list of administrative employes falling within the age range 25–55 years, who numbered 414. Averaging across the 11 negative items, Indians assessed their chances of experiencing bad events as 5.9% less than people like them. Psychol. Across the entire sample, the participants’ average age was 38.9 years (SD 9.7) and this did not vary by SES or nationality. Two 2 × 2 (nationality by SES) analyses of variance were conducted, i.e., good and bad events were analyzed separately. Shweder, R. A. However, a striking aspect of the unrealistic optimism literature is that the cultures used in the studies are somewhat restricted. Here are examples of optimism in idioms and popular phrases: If expectations are better than reality, the bias is optimistic; if reality is better than expected, the bias is pessimistic. Nevertheless it was notable that three of the 10 new items suggested in India involved money, which brought the number of explicitly financial items to a total of six items, four of which were located in the good event list. U. Kim, H. C. Triandis, C. Kagitcibasi, S.-C. Choi, and G. Yoon (London: Sage), 225–238. Cultural Psychology. One hundred participants (50 males, 50 females) were recruited in Pune, and 100 respondents (54 males, 46 females) were recruited in Mumbai. Relative optimism/pessimism for good events. An investigation of two competing explanations. The current study, despite asking participants to make separate judgments about their own chances and the chances for others, found that Indian participants showed high rates of comparative optimism for negative events. Sinha, J. 23, 41–58. A key focus has been the relationship of self-enhancement and self-effacement to selves contrasted in terms independence/interdependence and societies contrasting in individualism/collectivism. It is unlikely that the current study is subject to this problem as few of the events were very rare or of the kind associated with firm probability forecasts. Coronary Heart Disease Statistics in England, 2012. Psychol. If there are such psychological consequences of living in an unequal society, these are likely to be driven by perceptions of inequality rather than inequality as measured by statisticians. Srinivas, M. N. (1996). Early death of spouse and suicide were rated as the very worst events and financial difficulties and being burgled as the least bad events. (2011). The order of these four tasks was varied between participants. What cruise line owned the Costa Concordia? Rev. Harris and Hahn (2011) have recently and controversially suggested that the phenomenon of unrealistic optimism is neither a genuine cognitive nor motivational risk bias but is only an artifact of the kinds of response scales conventionally used in unrealistic optimism studies. Kakar, S. (1978). However the data cannot be taken as giving clear support for the base rate explanation of unrealistic optimism as event frequency for good events was confounded with rank and controllability. India: Globalization and Change. Bull. For Indian participants the highest ranking events were “success for self or spouse at work” and “son or daughter doing really well at school” and the lowest ranking events were “winning the lottery” and “unexpectedly inheriting some money.” For English participants the highest ranking events were “good health in old age” and “son or daughter being happily married” and the lowest ranking events were “moving to a better house” and “exotic foreign travel.”. Weinstein, N. D. (1980). The informants rated 12 items as suitable (or requiring only minimal rewording) and suggested 10 new items to capture good and bad events they regarded as missing from the original list (See Tables 2– 5 for the list of events used). Triandis, H. C. (1995). The term refers to a bias whereby “people rate negative events as less likely to happen to themselves than to the average person and positive events as more likely to happen to themselves than to the average person” (Harris and Hahn, 2011, p. 135). New Dir. Hoorens, V., Smits, T., and Shepperd, J. London: Hamish Hamilton. Psychol. (2001) found no evidence of an optimistic bias for positive events among European Americans, they did find evidence of a pessimistic bias for positive events among Japanese. Optimism scores for bad events did not vary by gender or by task order/questionnaire version. Desai, S., and Dubey, A. The comparable figure among the higher SES Indian group was only 26%. A number of universalist discourses surround research on unrealistic optimism. Professor Ulrike Hahn, University of London Abstract: Decades of research have come to the conclusions that people are unrealistically optimistic about their futures. Ever since its original demonstration by Weinstein (1980) a great deal of empirical work and theoretical attention has been devoted to the phenomenon of unrealistic optimism. Illusion and well-being: a social psychological perspective on mental health. Psychol. Alvi, A. Neural mechanisms mediating optimism bias. Among cultures in India, Hinduism in particular has been portrayed as such a culture. 21, 391–398. Heine and Lehman (1995) concluded overall that “self-enhancing biases (such as unrealistic optimism) are, for the most part, absent from the Japanese motivational repertoire because the consequent attention to the individual that self-enhancement engenders is not valued in interdependent cultures” (p. 595). Bull. Health 25, 1195–1208. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Two studies investigated the tendency of people to be unrealistically optimistic about future life events. The term ‘unrealistic’ … To start reaping these benefits, check out these 11 ways to become an optimist. The desirability rankings of the 11 bad event items was very similar between nationalities [rho(9) = 0.89, p < 0.001] and did not vary by SES. A series of studies by Savani and colleagues also indicate that the discourses of control and “choosing according to one’s personal preferences may not be as important to the experience of agency for Indians as it is for North Americans” (Savani et al., 2008, p. 861; Savani et al., 2010, 2011). A striking feature of the current study is that although lower SES Indian participants showed unrealistic optimism on bad events, they did not show it on good events. Optimism May Be Partly in Your Genes. Asian J. Soc. Dispositional optimismis defined as a global expectation that more good (desirable) things than bad (undesirable) will happen in the future (Scheier and Carver, 1985). 11, 4–27. (2011). Culture and self: an empirical assessment of Markus and Kitayama’s theory of independent and interdependent self-construals. 13, 657–678. Kumar, R. (2004). Since for this group optimism regarding having a heart attack correlated very highly with optimism on many other items such as not going bankrupt, and not having an accident while on public transport, it can be safely interpreted that the optimism relates to a general psychological orientation rather than reflecting the practice of actual health promoting behaviors. The English participants were randomly selected from non-academic employees in lower managerial and intermediate occupations at a university in the south of England. Why is self-enhancement low in certain collectivist cultures? Unrealistic optimism in smokers: implications for smoking myth endorsement and self-protective motivation. But this is just when people meet for the first time and do not know each other. J. Pers. Pocock, D. F. (1973). Science 255, 946–952. There were four versions of the questionnaire, varying order of self-other rating and varying whether the example given was optimistic or pessimistic. In the case of good events a base rate bias of the kind suggested by Chambers and Windschitl (2004) and Rose et al. Egocentrism, event frequency, and comparative optimism: when what happens frequently is “more likely to happen to me.” Pers. Figure 1. The majority of the early research on unrealistic optimism in the 1980s and 1990s was conducted on participants in the USA (q.v. If expectations are better than reality, the. Indian J. Psychiatry 49, 189–194. In order to gain a better understanding of optimism, it is important to consider the different types of optimismthat researchers consider today. 4, 551–578. (2005). Lower SES Indian participants were also pessimistic regarding another financial based event (“exotic foreign travel”) and the only bad item they were not optimistic about was their relative chance of experiencing “financial problems.” But it is unlikely that these financially related events can be held responsible for the lack of optimism shown for good events. with psychological well-being (Taylor and Brown,1988),and con-versely, a pessimistic bias is thought to be involved in depression (Abramson et al., 1978; Miranda and Mennin, 2007). Participants typically reported that they had higher degree qualifications and were employed in the professions as engineers, accountants, and teachers. Such a belief would tend to encourage self-effacement in estimating one’s chances of experiencing the good things in life, particularly regarding events involving one’s children11. For any given item the average will be comprised of the difference scores of three groups of respondents: those who were optimistic, those who were neither optimistic nor pessimistic (and thus score zero), and those who were pessimistic. A repeated measures ANOVA indicates that while both Indian and English participants rated the good event items involving others as more controllable than the items involving self [F(1,90) = 69.36, p < 0.001], this difference was more pronounced for Indian than for English participants [average difference in controllability scores between items involving others and items involving self: India = 0.70, SD = 0.58; England = 0.40, SD = 0.59; F(1,90) = 5.16, p = 0.026]. Psychol. Saraswathi, T. S., and Ganapathy, H. (2002). Taylor, S. E., and Brown, J. D. (1988). Economic inequality is linked to biased self-perception. In his studies of unrealistic optimism, Weinstein (1989, 1984, Weinstein and Kliein, 1996) has proved evidence of the harmful effects of optimistic biases in risk perception related to a host of health hazards. Challenge negative thoughts. Thinking about the future: is optimism always best? A major limitation of much research in comparative optimism, and indeed in social psychology in general, is its reliance on student participants (Henrich et al., 2010). The high rate of unrealistic optimism shown by the Indian participants in the current study makes it clear that it is possible to demonstrate self-enhancement and yet be from a collectivist Asian culture. Across good events, Indians on average estimated slightly lower frequencies (M = 44.3%, SD = 14.99) than did English participants [M = 47.9%, SD = 12.55; F(1,283) = 3.93, p = 0.049]. The absolutely unrealistic individual is … Although Chang et al. It was considered important to sample from different socioeconomic groups not only in relation to the study’s particular interest in inequality but also because psychology in general has been guilty of oversampling from a very restricted age and educational pool with possible consequent problems for the generalizability of studies’ results (Henrich et al., 2010). Soc. 100, 84–102. Two hundred and eighty seven middle aged and middle income participants (200 in India, 87 in England) rated 11 positive and 11 negative events in terms of the chances of each event occurring in “their own life,” and the chances of each event occurring in the lives of “people like them.” Comparative optimism was shown for bad events, with Indian participants showing higher levels of optimism than English participants. This means that optimists are generally happier with their lives than pessimists. On average, bad events were rated 2.38 (SD = 0.40, N = 88) but in this case English participants rated such events as slightly less controllable (M = 2.21, SD = 0.37) than did Indian participants [M = 2.48, SD = 0.38; F(1,85) = 10.65, p = 0.002]. Psychol. Markus, H. R., and Kitayama, S. (1991). This pattern was found for three of the four groups in the current study. But as has already been pointed out for lower SES Indians, “optimism” on good events was not optimism, but merely lack of pessimism. B. Ingoldsby (Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications), 209–230. Self-affirmation moderates effects of unrealistic optimism and pessimism on reactions to tailored risk feedback. Heine, S. J., and Lehman, D. R. (1995). Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15, 302–306. This did not vary by SES, nor was there an interaction between SES and nationality. It is also known as unrealistic optimism or comparative optimism. In the case of epidemiologically common risks, high levels of optimism are of clinical interest as they may well discourage disease preventive action in those at risk (Sweeny et al., 2006; Schacter and Addis, 2007). Its even higher prevalence and pattern of earlier onset in India than in industrialized nations has been attributed to the interplay of genetic and lifestyle factors such as fatty diet, smoking, and lack of exercise (Kaul and Bhatia, 2010). The most frequent explanation of cultural differences in unrealistic optimism relates optimism to the tendency to self-enhance thought to be characteristic of individualistic cultures comprised of independent selves. A mailed questionnaire was used to obtain comparative risk judgments for 32 different hazards from a random sample of 296 individuals living in central New Jersey. The current study suggests that in India as in the UK, unrealistic optimism is likely to play a part in people’s inattention to or even rejection of health messages. Reddy and Yusuf (1998) suggest that community awareness of the dangers of cardiovascular disease is not high in countries such as India, and further that “the transition toward becoming industrial market economies is unleashing consumer aspirations that impatiently seek an affluent and indulgent lifestyle” (p. 601). (2003). In terms of absolute levels of optimism/pessimism on good events, lower SES Indians were also pessimistic about “son/daughter getting a very good job,” and not optimistic on any of the remaining good event items even though some of those items had been judged by a comparable group of participants as controllable – i.e., as reasonably or even certainly possible to make happen. (2012). And that's often the truth. With this alteration of focus, Chang and Asakawa (2003) now found European Americans displaying an optimistic bias regarding both positive and negative events, and the Japanese showing no bias in either direction for positive events and a pessimistic bias for negative events. B. P., and Kanungo, R. N. (1997). Articles. Cognit. Parent-adolescent relationships in the context of interpersonal disagreements: view from a collectivist culture. As an example, higher levels of optimism were expressed in relation to going bankrupt (judged as a low frequency event for “similar others”) and lower relative optimism was expressed in relation to having a heart attack before 60 (judged as a relatively higher frequency event for “similar others”). 103, 193–210. Empirical studies of response to misfortune, such as chronic illness, suggest that the connection between positive adjustment, perceived control and lay causal reasoning so often found in the West (Taylor and Brown, 1988) is not found in Indian patients (q.v. As can be seen in Table 6, multiple regressions indicated that this factor was significantly related to optimism/pessimism in three of the four groups. Optimistic people are self-motivated people. , The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology studies the burgeoning field of positive psychology, which, … Kaul, U., and Bhatia, V. (2010). Much of the research on comparative optimism has investigated respondents’ expectations about their likelihood of experiencing negative life events. Are Japanese more collectivist than Americans? Matsumoto, D. (2007). This number emanates from 60% assessing their chances across events as being on average 9.5% better than others, 14% estimating their chances to be the same as others, and 26% estimating their chances to be 7.7% worse than others. “Optimism is defined as expectancy judgments that you can do certain things in the future,” she says. 53, 133–160. Sci. “Lay explanations of the causes of diabetes in India and in the UK,” in Representations of Health, Illness and Handicap, eds I. Markova and R. Farr (Chur: Harwood Academic Publishers), 163–188. J. Psychol. Psychol., 13 February 2013 In contrast, in comparative unrealistic optimism, people are unrealistically optimistic about their chances compared to those of others. While it has been argued that “the Indian psyche” is best understood as individualistic as well as collectivistic (Sinha and Tripathi, 1994; Kumar, 2004), it can confidently be said that, in many aspects of their philosophical position and emphasis on social harmony and hierarchy, cultures in India (spanning a variety of religions including Hinduism and Islam) share much with East Asian Confucian cultures (Laungani, 2007)3. J. Psychol. They surround themselves with other positive people. Such work as there is has focused on unrealistic pessimism about negative events, such as serious illness, and attempted to relate pessimism to low uptake of screening or lack of engagement with treatment (Lerman and Schwartz, 1993; Klein et al., 2010). Comments on the future of Asian social psychology. Much research indicates that people underestimate their personal probability of encountering negative events. Participants’ average estimates of the chances of events happening in their own lives in comparison to the chances of those events happening in the lives of people like themselves. J. Abnorm. Sixty participants were recruited in India: 30 each (15 male, 15 female) from the two different socioeconomic areas used in the main study. 31, 71–82. Across good items, English participants of both socioeconomic groups averaged to be neither optimistic nor pessimistic. The National Statistics Socio-economic Classification (NS-SEC rebased on the SOC2010). Optimism doesn’t mean engaging in wishful or fantastic thinking. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28 (6), 836–846. (2008). ¿Cuáles son los 10 mandamientos de la Biblia Reina Valera 1960? In this entry we distinguish between different types of unrealistic optimism. At first, the bulk of research was conducted using populations in North America and Northern Europe, the optimistic bias was thought of as universal, and little attention was paid to cultural context. In this case the lower SES Indian participants’ striking lack of optimism about good events in comparison to the higher SES Indian participants may indeed signal a somewhat dejected approach to the future. 10, 1345–1347. Cross Cult. Answer and Explanation: No, optimism is not an emotion. Develop. 109, 374–283. Motivational explanations for unrealistic optimism have been more common among researchers whose prime interest is in cultural comparison. Laungani, P. (2007). For example in the case of “Heart attack before 60,” three times as many of higher SES Indian participants expressed relative optimism as compared to relative pessimism, whereas less than two times as many of lower SES Indian respondents did so. J. Soc. © LTD 2021 All Rights Reserved. Optimism sounds like a sales pitch, while pessimism sounds like someone trying to help you. Dohrenwend, B. P., Levav, I., Shrout, P. E., Schwartz, S., Naveh, G., Link, B. G., et al. 32, 93–105. New Delhi: Sage. 87, 49–74. (2011) suggest that “it is unlikely that economic inequality directly leads to biased self-perception” (p. 1257; italics our own). Toronto: Centre for Global Health Research. People are unrealistically optimistic about future health outcomes, believing that they are less likely to experience adverse health outcomes relative to their peers and relatively to objective indicators of what is likely to occur. 14, 1475–1479. Context sensitivity and balancing in Indian organizational behavior. “Mate selection in contemporary India: love marriages versus arranged marriages,” in Mate Selection across Cultures, eds R. R. Hamon and B. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Psychol. But it also suggests that the illusion of control is as an influential factor in the mindset of Indians as it has been held to be in the Western mindset, and accords with Shweder’s (2008) observation that, contrary to what is often believed by Westerners, Hindus do have a strong sense of agency8 Check out. Loughnan, S., Kuppens, P., Allik, J., Balazs, K., de Lemus, S., Dumont, K., et al. Dev. For example, you may think that the chance of your having a heart attack is 30% and the chance of people like you having a heart attack is also 30%; or you may think that because your health is not good the chance of your having a heart attack is 70% and the chance of people like you having a heart attack is 30%.”. That this group may be especially vulnerable to depression tallies with ethnographic depictions of urban “locally oriented middle class” Indians who, notwithstanding rapid economic growth in India during the last three decades, continue to experience limited economic opportunities for themselves and their children (Derné, 2008), and feel insecure in the face of the threat of “real impoverishment” (Shurmer-Smith, 2000, p. 52). Following Weinstein’s (1980) pioneering work many studies established that people have an optimistic bias concerning future life events. Broadly this indicates a greater degree of optimism and self-enhancement among Indian than English participants. J. Exp. J. Pers. They did not show pessimism for the more frequent bad events, although they did show less optimism for such events. Thanks are due to Roweni Vaidya, Swati Damle, and Anne Lee for research assistance, and to all the participants in Pune, Mumbai, and Oxford. 9. For higher SES Indians event frequency, unrelated to desirability or controllability, negatively predicted relative optimism although less powerfully than desirability/controllability. Br. This longitudinal study repeatedly assessed unrealistic absolute and comparative optimism within a performance context over several months to identify the degree to which they shift as … As an event divorce was rated as relatively controllable and not as undesirable as events such as getting cancer. Shweder, R. A., and Bourne, E. J. More highly valued events were judged more controllable and more frequent than less valued events, and were more subject to relative optimism (or as in the case of the lower SES Indian sample were less subject to relative pessimism). Cultural variations in optimistic and pessimistic bias: do Easterners really expect the worst and Westerners really expect the best when predicting future life events? Focus on the positives. Soc. Both Indian groups regarded events such as work success, moving to a better house, son/daughter being happily married as frequent, valued, and relatively controllable10. Behav. Further, Indian participants showed greater optimism regarding bad events than did English participants. We also ask to what extent unrealistic … In addition, χ2 tests were used to compare the ratio of optimists to pessimists within each group to a chance distribution. Unrealistic optimism in early-phase oncology trials. Stalkfleet, M., Raio, C. W., and Tripathi, R. J R. ( 2007 ) psychology dispositional!: overview with relation to economic hardship expectancy judgments that you should adopting. And external criticism of historical sources, Seligman, M. T., and,. And comprised controllability and desirability T. F., and frequency to comparative optimism/pessimism closely related grounds for thinking Indian! By the researcher, Hoorens et al K. S., Pradeeoa, R. A., Jensen L.... 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