Why you should listen
Optimism bias is the belief that the future will be better, much better, than the past or present. And most of us display this bias. Neuroscientist Tali Sharot wants to know why: What is it about our brains that makes us overestimate the positive? She explores the question in her book The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain.
In the book (and a 2011 TIME magazine cover story), she reviewed findings from both social science and neuroscience that point to an interesting conclusion: "our brains aren't just stamped by the past. They are constantly being shaped by the future." In her own work, she's interested in how our natural optimism actually shapes what we remember, and her interesting range of papers encompasses behavioral research (how likely we are to misremember major events) as well as medical findings -- like searching for the places in the brain where optimism lives. Sharot is a faculty member of the Department of Cognitive, Perceptual and Brain Sciences at University College London.
What others say
“Hope isn’t rational, so why are humans wired for it?” — Tali Sharot
Tali Sharot’s TED talk
More news and ideas from Tali Sharot
How small lies turn into big lies, what everyday objects tell us about inequality, and robots that lend a helping hand during disasters
Just a few of the intriguing headlines involving members of the TED community this week: The cascading effect of small lies. Tali Sharot is the senior author on a paper published in Nature Neuroscience that sheds light on the possible slippery-slope effect of telling small, self-serving lies. Using an fMRI scanning device to monitor the […]Continue reading
Look on the bright side: A Q&A with TED ebook author Tali Sharot on our biological wiring for optimism
The mad rush of the holidays can stress out the sunniest soul, and yet somehow, beneath it all, we remain cheerfully optimistic. We look ahead, make New Year’s resolutions and generally believe next year will be better than this one and the year before. Why? Tali Sharot, who spoke at TED2012, says we homo sapiens are […]Continue reading