Do optimists distort their predictions for future positive and negative events?
Trait optimism as measured by the Life Orientation Test was explored as a predictor of judgemental distortions for positive and negative events within varying time-frames. Subjects were asked to predict their absolute or relative chances of experiencing positive and negative events within 3 months, 3 months to 1 year, or 1-5 years. It was predicted that optimists would report the likelihood of experiencing more positive and less negative events relative to other people. While optimists did expect to experience more positive and less negative events, they did not give themselves more favorable predictions compared to other individuals. Being an optimist influenced judgements made within varying time-frames, especially within 3 months and 3 months to 1 year, for negative events only. Discussion highlights the need to differentiate trait measures of optimism with judgemental biases that serve to categorize individuals as optimists. © 1993.
Lipkus, IM; Martz, JM; Panter, AT; Drigotas, SM; Feaganes, JR
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