Optimism Bias

Optimism Bias

What is it?

Optimism Bias is a bias that makes people believe that good things are more likely to happen than bad things.

Optimism bias is a cognitive bias where people tend to overestimate the likelihood of positive events happening to them and underestimate the likelihood of negative events. In other words, people generally believe that they are more likely to experience good things and less likely to experience bad things than others.

Here are two simple examples to help you understand optimism bias:

  1. Health risks: Suppose you and your friends are discussing the risks of smoking. You all know that smoking increases the risk of lung cancer, but you might think that you, personally, are less likely to develop lung cancer compared to other smokers. This belief is an example of optimism bias, as you underestimate the negative consequences that could happen to you.

  2. Relationship success: Imagine you're at a wedding, and you learn that the divorce rate is around 50%. While you might accept that statistic as generally true, you might also believe that your own marriage has a much lower chance of ending in divorce. This belief is another example of optimism bias, as you overestimate the likelihood of your own relationship success compared to others.

Optimism bias can lead to a distorted perception ...