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Archive for December 3rd, 2007

Self-deception may not be the most admired personality trait, but it can work wonders for your happiness.

Researchers say several factors are at work.

First, just because you are self-aware doesn’t necessarily translate into psychological well-being. Second, we all tend to see ourselves as better than others, even in the face of objective observations. Third, most people believe they are less likely than their peers to experience negative events in the future. But since not everyone’s future can be fantastic, as researchers Shelley Taylor and Jonathon Brown explain it — “the extreme optimism that individuals display appears to be illusory.”

And yet, there appears to be a correlation between positive well-being and these attitudes. Researchers believe happy people are more likely to have positive conceptions of themselves, a belief in their ability to control what goes on around them, and an optimism about the future — however illusory.

So if you still think you can write the next, great Pulitzer Prize-winning play — go for it. Even if it never comes true, you’ll still likely be a whole lot happier.

Source: Illusion and Well-Being: A Social Psychological Perspective on Mental Health by Shelley E. Taylor and Jonathon Brown in Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 103, Issue 2

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