voices in the family

Optimism, pessimism and the brain



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June 18, 2012 — The glass is half full or half empty…which is it? Our outlook on life reflects the need to experience pleasure and danger. When the two are balanced, everything’s pretty good. When one’s too strong, there can be trouble like addiction, anxiety, or depression. The good news is the way the brain works can be changed, according to cutting edge research within the field of neuroscience.

Dr. Dan Gottlieb discusses the nature and nurture of optimism and pessimism — and the retraining of the brain to better manage our outlook on life. Our guest is psychologist Elaine Fox, author of  “Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain.” Elaine is a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, and the director of the Affective Neuroscience Laboratory in the Department of Psychology at the University of Essex. She leads a program of research combining cognitive psychology, neuroimaging, and genetics.

Photo by Flickr user Tony Hall

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