November 7, 2009

Negative nellies less gullible

Many studies have found that negative people are more realistic than their perkier brethren.

Similarly, for example, people with a terminal illness who maintain a happy, appreciative outlook don't live any longer than people who rage against the end of their days. The former no doubt die happier than the latter, but both get the same truncated ending.

On the same spectrum as previous findings, an Australian study has concluded that being depressive pretty much makes one rather smarter than the smiley-happy folk.

"Bad moods can actually be good for you, with an Australian study finding that being sad makes people less gullible, improves their ability to judge others and also boosts memory."

The chirpy people, by contrast, take mental shortcuts and will believe anything they're told.

The cold dark of night


  1. How true. I once heard that the way to lead a happy life is to expect crap things to happen. Then when they do, the shock is reduced and your in the right frame of mind to deal effectively with it.

    Is it possible that much of the depression people suffer from today is merely just the denial of life's realities? We keep kidding ourselves that we can do and be anything and then when it doesn't work out we collapse into a heap. Real life doesn't care about our dreams, the sooner we make peace with that concept the sooner we get to enjoy what is on offer.

  2. A pessimist is never disappointed...

  3. Anonymous7:00 PM

    What ever you say Caz - it's fine by me.


  4. Anonymous7:02 PM

    Er, this is avatar briefs isn't it - so hard to remeber these days.

  5. Anonymous7:02 PM


    PS that belongs above - I forgot.

  6. Dan - set the bar low, that way one can never be disappointed, and there are no end of happy moments that would otherwise have been pedestrian.

    On the second point: chicken, egg?

    Most studies take the starting point that depression itself, or pessimism, is causal in one seeing the world in all its hideous reality, rather than the other way around.

    Also important not to confuse boredom, sadness, disappointment - of which there is much these days, and much of such is over-cooked - with a predisposition to being a glass-half-empty type of person.

    Being stoic isn't in the modern repertoire, is it. Perpetual bleating over nothing at all is the almost de rigeur wallpaper to the lives of many folk, no generational restrictions.

    Well, that, or bleating at the government to "do something, do something".

  7. Makes me think of the exchange between the Man in Black and Buttercup in The Princess Bride:

    Buttercup: You mock my pain.

    Man in Black: Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

  8. Crap.

    Am I the only person in the world who hasn't seen The Princess Bride?

    I know it's supposed to be good, but I've irrationally avoided it - the title puts me off!

    Yes, I know, isn't that a throw back to my hysterically radical feminist years?