Positive and Negative bias

I just read a ‘Damn Interesting’ article. On it, the author explains how the ‘mentally disordered’ have a much more accurate view of our world than that of ‘normal people’. As he explains in the opening paragraphs, although “realistic perceptions [of our world] have been considered essential to good mental health”, this is far from the truth.

Apparently, in order to survive in this crazy world of ours, we need a constant ‘positive bias’ that tells us our lives and our world are better than they actually are. It is only through this self-delussion, the author suggests, that we are able to cope with the many issues we face every day.

If this is true (and I have no reason to believe it is not), then I need to be careful. I have a very dear friend who has a constant negative bias; I often dismiss a lot of his worries as being unrealistic, clouded by his negative bias. In his world, if there are 2 explanations to why someone behaved badly, the worst one is usually the one he chooses to believe.

I always thought him a bit silly, and certainly not a realistic person. But based on this article, maybe his view is more realistic than mine, at least more often than I’d care to accept.

On the other hand, I like living a happy life. Even if it’s misguided.Bring it on, positive bias – I’d rather be a happy fool than a miserable genius!


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