Headline, May06, 2014



IN the real world, you might expect optimism to erode under the tide of news about violent conflicts, high unemployment:

Tornadoes and floods and all the threats and failures that shape human life. Collectively we can grow pessimistic  -about the direction of our country or the ability of our Leaders to improve education and reduce crime.

But private optimism, about our personal future, remains incredibly resilient. A survey conducted in 2007  found that while  70%  thought families in general were less successful than:

In their parents day,  76%  of respondents were optimistic about the future of their own family

At times, it seems, that our brain possesses the philosopher's stone that enables us to turn lead into gold:

And helps us bounce back to normal levels of well-being. It is wired to place high value on events we encounter and put faith in its own decisions. This is true not only when forced:

To choose between two adverse options  -such as selecting between two courses of medical treatment    -but also when we are selecting between desirable alternatives.

Imagine you need to pick between two attractive job offers. Making a decision may be a tiring, difficult ordeal, but once you make up your mind, something miraculous happens.

Suddenly, you view the chosen offer as better than you did before and conclude that the option was not that great after all. According to social psychologist Leon Festinger, we re-evaluate the options postchoice:

To reduce the tension that arises from making a difficult decision between equally desirable options:

So, welcome to Sam Daily Times  -the voice of the voiceless-  and  !WOW!    -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless.

TRUE -so very true. Sometimes we regret our decisions: Yes, yes,  -our choices can turn out to be disappointing.

But on balance, when you make a decision   -even if it is a hypothetical choice -you will value it more and expect it to bring you pleasure. 

This affirmation of our decisions helps us derive heightened pleasure from choices that might actually be neutral. Without this, our lives might will be filled with second guessing. Have we done the right thing?

Should we change our mind? We would find ourselves stuck, overcome by indecision and unable to move forward.

From any angle or reasoning,  optimism remains a puzzle. While the past few years have seen important advances in the neuroscience of optimism, one very enduring puzzle remained.

How is that people maintain this rosy bias even when information is challenging our upbeat forecasts is so readily available? Only recently have been able to decipher this mystery by scanning the brains of people as they process both:

Positive and negative information about the future. The findings are striking:

When people learn, their neurons faithfully encode desirable information that can enhance the information but fail at incorporating unexpectedly undesirable information.

When we hear a success story like Mark Zuckerberg's, or   !WOW!,  our brains take note of the possibility that we too may become immensely rich and famous one day. 

But hearing that the odds of divorce are almost  1 in 2  tends not to make us think that our own marriages may be destined to fail.

Why would our brains be wired in this way?  It is tempting to speculate that optimism was selected by evolution precisely because, on balance,    positive expectations enhance the odds of survival.

Research findings that optimists live longer and are healthier, plus the fact that most humans display optimistic biases    -and emerging data that optimism is linked to specific genes    -al strongly support this hypothesis.

Yet optimism is also irrational and can lead to unwanted outcomes. The question then is,  How can we remain hopeful    -benefiting from the fruits of optimism   -while at the same time guarding ourselves from its pitfalls?

I believe knowledge is the key. We are not born with an innate understanding of our biases. The brains illusions have to be identified by careful scientific observation controlled experiments and then communicated to the rest of us.

Once we are made aware of our optimistic illusions, we can act to protect ourselves. The good new is that awareness rarely shatters the illusion. The glass remains half full. It is possible, then to strike a balance.

To believe we will stay healthy, but get medical insurance anyway; to be certain the sun will shine, but grab an umbrella on our way out.............

Just in case. Yes, just in case!

Just don't delay, rather rush,  and join !WOW!   -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless

'''  Global Roses '''

With respectful and fond dedication to Rabo, Dee, Hussain, Ali, Sorat, Zeba, Ehsan, Aneela, Saima, and  the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world.

Good Night & God Bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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