Talk:Optimism bias/Archive 1

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What about pessimism bias?

People who are very negative and cynical are often described as "realistic" and "telling it like it is", even if they are just lamenting irrationally. This bias towards pessimistic thinking is probably an overreaction to optimism bias, of which many people are suspicious (even if they're not aware of the term). Does anyone know of any research/philosophical discourse on pessimism bias? Should there be a Wikipedia article on it? Or is the thing I'm talking about known by a different name? (I couldn't find anything in List of cognitive biases describing a bias towards pessimistic thinking.) BreakfastTime (talk) 15:37, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Hoping to show that there wasn't such a thing as "pessimism bias", I did a Google Scholar search for the term. To my surprise, it seems that the term is in academic use (e.g. "Self-protective pessimism: Optimistic bias in reverse" JR Chapin - North American Journal of Psychology, 2001) and that "optimism-pessimism bias" also occurs a lot, with some experiments producing unrealistic optimism and unrealistic pessimism in different situations. There's a case for a combined article on optimism bias and pessimism bias, but we'd need someone familiar with this literature. The Depressive realism article has some pointers to research that bears on what you're talking about.MartinPoulter (talk) 13:20, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Isn't this called overconfidence

Isn't overconfidence the standard way to refer to this bias? See: Overconfidence effect Phdb (talk) 15:09, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Marriage as (motivated by) Optimism Bias

Is the marriage example really a case of optimism bias? In seems like an ironic fallacy contained within a fallacy. It presumes marriages length is primarily determined by factors external the the individuals control. It's also true that those who look at marriages as for life are more likely to succeed. I don't know how appropriate that examples is. Shouldn't the bias be applied to things like lotteries (of which no actually control is possible)? Dooga16 (talk) 05:32, 24 June 2010 (UTC)Dooga16

Hi Dooga! Please read and edit what you write before you save the page. Sentences like: It presumes marriages lasting are someone primarily determined by factors external the the individuals control are difficult to understand. That said, I think marriage is a good example of the optimism bias. Yes, it is true that people have an influence on whether their marriage succeeds or not, but the same goes for scores on exams. Optmimism bias can also mean that you over-estimate your own capacities and your own motivation... Lova Falk talk 08:56, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
Marriage examples seem pretty standard in the academic literature on this bias. Yes, the success of a marriage depends at least partly on the people in it (if that's what you're trying to say) and for this reason optimism bias overlaps with illusory superiority and illusion of control. The marriage example belongs in this article though. MartinPoulter (talk) 11:44, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure I'd deny that optimism bias can occur in some of the things listed. However, I think the more mathematical example the better. For instance, someone overestimating the length of their marriage is statistically more likely to have a lengthy marriage, if I remember what I've read correctly. Marriage is also something people have a large degree of control over. It might be reasonably applied to a stranger that "you should not assume the marriage will last forever." However, the exam example is a good demonstration. You shouldn't assume you're going to fail because 60% of people will. Optimism with respect to success in areas "linked directly to individual effort" isn't a bias. It's an acceptance of your own control over the situation. Academic research might use it, but it's still subject to less clarity. These are epistemological confusions favoring "what we know" over "what is the case." It's not true that one person has a fixed percentage chance of avoiding a divorce. We simply don't know enough about the situation and guess based on an average. I can see how it would overlap but there is a large degree of actual control when it comes to marriage success. Perhaps I am getting a better idea of how the example fits, but I just think it's more precise to use mathematical examples whenever possible.Dooga16

WikiProject Psychology

Is this within the scope of "WikiProject Psychology?" Twipley (talk) 15:35, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

Added (belatedly) MartinPoulter (talk) 11:40, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

This seems very negative

there are good points to being optimistic, —Preceding unsigned comment added by Omni314 (talkcontribs) 17:23, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

Yes, it does seem to be a bit negative. There is a lot of psychology to suggest that optimism (or self-serving biases in general. e.g. Taylor and Brown, 1988 and the whole positive psychology movement) are healthy in the West (or US), and in economics, the "underinvestment problem" Benabou and Tirole (2002), overconfidence about one's ability can help individuals to undertake worthwhile long-term projects that would otherwise be forsaken because of a bias in favor of immediate gratification" quoted in [1]--Timtak (talk) 23:57, 10 November 2010 (UTC)
What some fun? Go compare this article to the one on pessimism bias (which is basically one short paragraph). What does that tell you about human nature... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:36, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
Not just negative, but profoundly stupid at times. "Almost all newlyweds in a US study expected their marriage to last a lifetime, even while aware of the divorce statistics." Sorry, and IANAPsychologist, but... duh? If you're the type to say "meh I'll probably be divorced in a few years" you're not very likely to agree to get married in the first place, are you? (talk) 21:00, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia as encyclopedia should be neither positive nor negative, it should be scientific and unbiased. Otherwise it could be considered just a random collection of writings of fiction and it would lose it's value as an encyclopedia. Although optimism as a self-serving bias might be considered useful by some it doesn't make it balanced and it's view is still biased. Wikipedia shouldn't be used as a propaganda-tool to increase investor-optimism in the US, promote marriage or for any other propagandistic cause. (Rahva.vaenlane (talk) 09:21, 23 August 2011 (UTC))

"This seems rather negative." Really? How so? I see no aspect of this article that is "negative" -- I'm not even sure what the complainants mean other than that they wish this were not an accurate picture of human behavior or that they would like to spin it otherwise. Psychological research has repeatedly demonstrated where human reasoning has systematically departed from that predicted by an impartial, rational analysis of whatever problem in a manner possessing such regularity as to be predicted to occur; that's the definition of a cognitive bias. Not liking it doesn't change things. I'm open to any research that shows that this bias has a normative, rational effect in certain domains, but no one has presented such, other than that which is already included in the article (section "Optimism bias and planning"). (I vaguely recall such, but can't bring it into focus; my experience has been that the bulk of research strongly supports the existence of this bias.) If you have research to include in the article, include it. If you mean something specific other than that "the bias is not unrealistic" when you say it is "negative", explain and demonstrate it (again with research). Otherwise, I don't know what you mean by negative. Apophenian Alchemy ([[User talk:Apophenian Alchemy|talk]]) 19:57, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

As someone who googled this article on "delusional overly optimistic disorder" and ended up here I appreciated the information in the article. I found it if anything not negative enough.

Tag removal

Peremptory removal of the tag based on no activity since it's placement and the content of the thread above. "Seems very negative" is not an intelligent criticism of an article with this title and subject. (talk) 13:36, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

Merge and move

Suggest a move to Subjective bias and merge of the other splitting. (talk) 14:13, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

Perspective (cognitive) is an existing article that may make a better target for both. (talk) 14:28, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
"Optimism bias" is the term used in the literature. "Subjective bias" doesn't describe what the bias is. I don't see the connection with Perspective at all? MartinPoulter (talk) 21:30, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
Don't move or merge; this is a specific concept. There's Cognitive bias for subjective cognitive bias in general, and Bias (statistics) too. – Pnm (talk) 22:15, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

I'm not sure any reassignment of these articles will satisfy everyone. Yes, the 'negative' article is tiny and could probably sit well with the 'positive' one. But if we're going towards the 'cognitive', the 'subjective' won't work either ... Suggest leaving them as they are and see if anything more substantive develops on the 'negative' item before a final decision is taken. Ohuanam (talk) 01:22, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

Need not be merged:: it is better dealt as a separate topic (```` (talk) 17:33, 5 March 2012 (UTC))

future updates

I just want to introduce myself before posting anything large on here: I am a senior psychology major working on a project on editing and improving a wikipedia article. With an interest in health and decision-making, I thought it would be interesting to work with the optimistic bias, and now here I am. For your consideration, I am positing a list of a potential eleven sources that I am planning to use in my edits and contributions. If anyone has any ideas or feedback, I would love to hear them. Thank you!

Note: those in bold provide the best information for working with wikipedia page. Others might be useful in small amounts, but do not give a good overall look on the subject.

  • Bränström, R., & Brandberg, Y. (2010). Health risk perception, optimistic bias, and personal satisfaction. American Journal of Health Behavior, 34(2), 197-205.
    • In addition to specifically focusing on health risk perception, examens it in terms of life transitions, specifically during adolescence and young adulthood. Concepts discussed: theory of planned behavior, Health Belief Model, and protection motivation theory. Could provide interesting information about the differences in the optimistic bias in demographics, particularly age groups, as well as how does the optimistic bias play into changes in personal satisfaction. Article suggests that these can be ways of creating interventions to health threats, which could again present an interesting area of discussion in my wikipedia page.
  • Chapin, J., & Coleman, G. (2009). Optimistic bias: What you think, what you know or who you know? North American Journal of Psychology, 11(1), 121-132.
    • While the focus is on optimistic bias in domestic violence, continues to provide general examples and general information on the optimistic bias in positive ways. While I'm not sure how much of the major part of the article will be useful, definitely parts of the introduction and conclusion will prove helpful in formulating general information. Could be a beneficial way in looking into optimistic bias in violent situations, as well as discuss other implications of the bias.
  • Gouveia, S. O., & Clarke, V. (2001). Optimistic bias for negative and positive events. Health Education, 101(5), 228-234. doi:10.1108/09654280110402080
    • Common topic that is appearing in many articles: negative and positive events. Could be potentially useful for a section in the article, considering that there seems to be a decent amount of information on the area. Decent reading here--goes through very basic information (e.g. definitions, general concepts), that can be a good basis for starting on revising information currently in the article. This specific article discusses how the optimistic bias occurs in both positive and negative events, rather than only negative events. Provides information on the study they conducted, which could be a good reference in what I am working on. Also provides information on participant ideas of differences between their perceptions and others, which could provide interesting aspects into the perception of optimistic bias.
  • Harris, P. (1996). Sufficient grounds for optimism? the relationship between perceived controllability and optimistic bias. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 15(1), 9-52.
    • Also helpful--discusses, as title suggests how perceived control effects optimistic bias. Found a lot of useful information in the sectional differences of the article, all of which could provide more psychology based discussion on the wikipedia page.
  • Harris, P., Middleton, W., & Joiner, R. (2000). The typical student as an in-group member: Eliminating optimistic bias by reducing social distance. European Journal of Social Psychology, 30(2), 235-253. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-0992(200003/04)30:2<235::AID-EJSP990>3.0.CO;2G
    • Interesting proposals of eliminating optimistic bias, which would be an interesting concluding section in the wikipedia page. Article discusses the importance of social distance, much of which relates to what we have been talking in class. Overall, great information for concluding statements, and how to deal with the optimistic bias after now knowing so much about it.
  • Helweg-Larsen, M., & Shepperd, J. A. (2001). Do moderators of the optimistic bias affect personal or target risk estimates? A review of the literature. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 5(1), 74-95. doi:10.1207/S15327957PSPR001_5
    • Could be very useful--moderators as a specific article section, as well as adding in information on how the optimistic bias relates to heuristics in judgment and decision-making. This article provides ample advice and examples on various aspects of optimistic bias, including, as mentioned, moderators, but also the influence different categories of moderators have. I think that this article will also be useful for examples and sources of other articles to use, as reference list is very large, and provides crucial information. Will be helpful in forming sections of the overall wikipedia page.
  • Izuma, K., & Adolphs, R. (2011). The brain's rose-colored glasses. Nature Neuroscience, 14(11), 1355-1356. doi:10.1038/nn2960
    • Might be interesting in terms of neurological aspects of optimism and how this relates to the optimistic bias, could be a new section on these neurological processes. However, article is extremely short and might not be the best article to use--could probably find more significant research on the same subject elsewhere, e.g., looking into the article they discuss the most.
  • Klein, W. M. (1996). Maintaining self-serving social comparisons: Attenuating the perceived significance of risk-increasing behaviors. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 15 (1). 120-142
  • Klein, C. T. F., & Helweg-Larsen, M. (2002). Perceived control and the optimistic bias: A meta-analytic review. Psychology & Health, 17(4), 437-446. doi:10.1080/088704402200004920
    • Perceived control. Provides good description of general overviews of optimistic bias, interesting idea that "people are realistic about their own risk, but pessimistic about the risk of other people (Shepperd, 2000-should look into here as well)". However, goes explicitly into the positive relationship of positive control and optimistic bias. Looks at numerous studies on the two, so focus on the relationship is strong. Overall, will provide large amounts of information on characteristics, and can provide useful facts.
  • Price, P. C., Pentecost, H. C., & Voth, R. D. (2002). Perceived event frequency and the optimistic bias: Evidence for a two-process model of personal risk judgments. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38(3), 242-252. doi:10.1006/jesp.20011509
    • Brings up how measurement styles affect outcomes in perceiving optimism bias. Discusses how the distance between an individual and their comparison group affect optimistic bias (for example, family members versus general population)--might be interesting to look into some of our articles on psychic numbing and see if there are any comparisons here. Other interesting thoughts: how individuals determine their own risks versus others (singular modes vs. distributional modes). Could also prove useful in a discussion on how to prevent/make people aware of the implications of the optimistic bias, especially in public health settings and education.
  • Sonoda, A. (2002). Optimistic bias and pessimistic realism in judgments of contingency with aversive or rewarding outcomes. Psychological Reports, 91(2), 445-456. doi:10.2466/PR0.91.6.44-456
    • Discussion of scales for measuring optimistic rates, specifically hopelessness scale and life orientation test. Discusses concept of "Self-serving attributional bias", "where individuals make more internal, stable, and global attributions for positive events" (454). Once again, seems not to be the most helpful for information for writing my article, but perhaps could be useful as an example (of what, I'm not sure, so this is definitely at the bottom of my list of things to use).
  • Weinstein, N. D., & Klein, W. M. (1996). Unrealistic optimism: Present and future. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 15 (1). 1-8.
  • Weinstein, N. D., & Lyon, J. E. (1999). Mindset, optimistic bias about personal risk and health-protective behaviour. British Journal of Health Psychology, 4, 289-300. doi:10.1348/135910799168641
    • Thought not my favorite article, will research some of his other works for more information--this one can be useful for looking at how to work with the optimistic bias in preventative measures (i.e., in the case of this article, radon levels in houses). Further consideration here is needed.

Sources range from general overviews of the optimistic bias to more specific areas, including health risks and social factors.

Leibelk (talk) 20:03, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

References look good. The key folks are Weinstein (in the early days), Bill Klein, James Shepperd, Peter Harris, and others. Marie Helweg-Larsen (talk) 17:31, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

Professor, Thank you for your feedback. I will definitely look into these sources even more.

Proposed Structure Changes for Optimistic Bias

Currently, the wikipedia page on the Optimistic Bias is very basic, and very focused on the economics of the theory. While this is not a bad thing and these aspects should definitely be kept in consideration, I want to focus on making the article more psychology-based rather than where it is at now. With these proposed changes, I wish to maintain the overal general information, but provide more information in the theories and concepts that make up the bias, how these can be measured, and finally, what might be done to eliminate some of the effects of these biases. Much of the general structure can be saved, but I want to specifically cover more psychology-based information, and perhaps make the economics a small section. Proposed changes and things to keep are listed:

  • General Overview/Definition
    • Overall, this paragraph is fine, does provide the general gist of the article--however, Kline et. al. (2002) has a nice overview of exactly what the optimistic bias is, and would be extremely useful in addition to the information provided. However, most of this is fine, might only change in minor ways. Some of the terms used currently are rather confusing, and could be simplified, as well as adding in more information, as mentioned, about the psychology of this, rather than just the economics.

sections to add (still in no particular order)

  • Health-Risk Perceptions
  • Measuring Optimistic Bias
  • Optimistic Bias in Positive/Negative Events
  • Perceived Control
  • Eliminating Optimistic Bias
  • Optimistic Bias in Decision Making

Each of these are things that have been discussed excessively in the literature of optimistic bias, and I don't see why they shouldn't be included. Though these could also be briefly discussed in the introduction, I find that there is enough information in the literature to each merit their own sections. I'm particularly interested in focusing on the importance of eliminating optimistic bias and perceived control, though each of them prove to provide necessary information to understanding the topic. Examples could be provided of each, citing from the articles.

sections to eliminate

  • planning
  • class forecasting--could be combined with outcomes/prevention
  • Depression
  • Experimental demonstration

Some of these can be eliminated because there should be enough examples added in to provide information without it need it's own section. Other sections can also be added in to the newly planned ones, and would keep a lot of the same information available. These specific sections seem to brief to provide information, and could definitely be improved through use in other areas.

sections to keep

  • Mechanisms
  • Financial Problems

I have a basic article on neurological issues of the optimistic bias (Izuma, 2011), and with more information, can probably find more information. Since there is already a little on it now, I think it could be interesting to add more to see another aspect of the neurological side of the bias. As for financial problems, I find that it could be interesting to keep to provide a specific focus on economics. It could be beneficial to add in all information economics related to this section, as it does have a lot to do with finances (re-title?)

Please let me know if you have any concerns, or would like to see something in here that I have not mentioned. Thank you! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Leibelk (talkcontribs) 02:11, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

started work

I have started working on writing the article changes: please view in my sandbox: Leibelk (talk) 22:03, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

new article

Hello--I have completely edited the Optimistic bias page. Please let me know if you have any concerns, or things which should be changed. Thank you Leibelk (talk) 02:18, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

good article nomination

moved to top where it belongs and correct sub-topic added, please familiarise yourself with the instructions at WP:GAN. Jezhotwells (talk) 09:41, 18 April 2012 (UTC)

Multiple article tags may be disruptive and not explained

A total of five different issue tags have been added to the article by user:MathewTownsend, yet this editor has not provided any explanation at all for these tags on the article's talk page, even though the tags were added 6 days ago. This is contrary to WP policy on tag bombing[2] and may therefore be disruptive editing. It does not seem clear to me why this editor considers some of these issues problematic, e.g. why does the article need to be wikified, what specifically is meant by "clean up", why does the editor consider there is too much detail etc.? I find this behaviour concerning because adding multiple tags to an article could be seen to imply that the article lacks credibility or reliability when this may not be justified. If the editor cannot provide a satisfactory explanation, I would suggest that these tags be removed. --Smcg8374 (talk) 09:36, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

Elektrik Shoos can you please explain why you think the article is essay-like? What parts of the article are cause for concern? As I have been saying, vague tags like this need to be accompanied by some explanation in order for the concerns to be addressed. --Smcg8374 (talk) 09:12, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
On an article that drips with essay-like qualities, an explanation is not needed. I wholly support the addition of the maintenance tags. →Στc. 07:10, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
If it really were "dripping" then an explanation should be easy as pie. If no explanation is forthcoming, how can anyone reasonably be expected to resolve whatever the problem is? The whole idea of having a talk page is to discuss improvements to the article. Refusals to explain anything contribute nothing of value. Simply stating that you support the tags also contributes nothing, these things are not decided by a show of hands.--Smcg8374 (talk) 08:06, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
As a criteria of WP:GAN is stable and free of edit wars, this means the article is not ready for being nominated for a good article nomination. The article reads like a very nice essay. If this was a class assignment, I might be giving it a good grade. The ESSAY makes good use of primary sources, has good flow, etc. As a Wikipedia article though, it appears to violate WP:MEDRS by citing primary source research, instead of utilizing things like psychology text books and other non-primary source research. If there is an honest intent to go forward, this is the first thing that needs to be fixed: All primary source research needs to be removed. Another thing that needs to be done is every paragraph that ends with out a citation to a non-primary source document needs a citation or to be removed. I'd also completely remove the see also section. If these things are important enough to mention there, they should be wikilinked in the article and thus not needing their own section. After that, all language that says things like "as discussed above" needs to be removed. I'd highly suggest having a read through WP:MEDRS and Wikipedia:Guide_for_nominating_good_articles. --LauraHale (talk) 05:35, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── OK. Like I said in the GA review, "I stopped reading after a quick glance at the TOC". More specifically, I stopped after reading "3 Why do we care about the optimistic bias?", for reasons that are glaringly obvious. After I quickly skimmed, I saw other unencyclopedic material, such as:

  • "This article will discuss the different contributing factors of the optimistic bias, as well as how it is measured and why this is important for decision-making.". No. Just no.
  • "One study found that people who underestimated their comparative risk of heart disease knew less about heart disease, and even after reading an article with more information, were still less concerned about their heart disease risk"; an encyclopedia does not report studies, but rather, facts. But you knew this, right?
  • "As mentioned before, individuals know a lot more about themselves than they do about others."[citation needed] Encyclopedias do not self-reference themselves like that (the article is summarised in the lead section), and it is essay-like.
  • "Overall, people find examples that relate directly to what they are asked, resulting in representativeness heuristics."; I stopped when I read "overall". Also, [citation needed]

I'm sure you're smart enough to understand why the tag is at the top of the article, as well as figure out the rest of the problems from here. Happy editing. →Στc. 05:50, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Thank you so much for the feedback--I am currently making changes to better suit Wikipedia's standards. I am removing the unencyclopedic material, as well as some of the unnecessary information at the bottom.

One thing I would like to address though, is that I am not violating the citation expectations--psychological research uses peer-reviewed journal articles as authoritative sources rather than from books. All sources I have I have referenced are peer-reviewed journal articles. Other articles, such as confirmation bias and stereotype threat have both used primary research articles from peer-reviewed sources, and have been awarded "good article status". I do not see why this would be different. Leibelk (talk) 18:13, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Suggested merger from pessimism bias

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Merge Pessimism bias here as no objection in 3+ years, but support.

Original proposed by 15:10, January 28, 2012

  • Support There seems to be little published information about the pessimism bias. Let alone as a coherent term. The article is only a stub. Much of it already is about the optimism bias. Therefore, I am in favor of a merger. --Spannerjam 17:14, 12 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Support Per Spannerjam's reasoning. Lova Falk talk 07:19, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Support Agree that pessimism bias isn't well supported and can be accommodated as a subheading of optimism bias.Klbrain (talk) 21:40, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

HM Treasury document on optimism bias --Kaihsu (talk) 20:00, 13 November 2015 (UTC)