Friday, February 26, 2010

Optimism and old age (psychological research)

Research found that optimism is negative for old individuals. Why?

I suggest that optimism brings people to make more effort and get stressed (research by Segerstorm and Solberg Nes). WHile stress is negative, the positive results of these actions surpasses the cost, and makes optimism a positive trait.

The old, we know, are slow to recover form stress. It implies that hte cost of short term stress is much higher. This may make optimism an overally negative trait then.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yechezkel, one sees a distinction made between eustress, or positive stress, and distress, or negative stress. Does this study highlight the distinction?

On some continuum isn't optimism mostly dispositional, whereas the subjective experience of eustress or distress is situational?

Not to extend the query too far, but might not there be a mismatch involving calibration, as an older and presumably less fit individual exerts beyond phyiscal capacity, thus resulting in an undesirable outcome? An example is, say, a 45 year old man who optimistically believes he can play football like when he was a youth, and ends up causing himself injury?