In the (very complex) study, published in Psychological Science, researchers shared 12 random scenarios with 27 people. The participants were asked to imagine the situation either going well or going badly (their choice!) and then describe it aloud for three minutes. After 15 minutes, the participants were given narratives of how the events turned out one year later, with a mixture of good, bad, and neutral outcomes and details. Two days later, the participants were given 12 positive and negative details about the hypothetical event and were asked to indicate which had appeared in the earlier narratives.
The participants who had imagined the scenario going well were more likely to misattribute positive details to the event than those who had pictured it going badly were. However, people who had foreseen the event going badly did not falsely attribute details to the case.
“Healthy adults tend to have an unrealistically favorable outlook, and our studies suggest that one potential benefit of this optimism might be that we remember events in a more positive way, which could contribute to general well-being.” —study co-author Dr. Aleea Devitt
“Research has shown that healthy adults tend to have an unrealistically favorable outlook, and our studies suggest that one potential benefit of this optimism might be that we remember events in a more positive way, which could contribute to general well-being,” study co-author Aleea Devitt, PhD, says in a press release.
Although the results of this study can’t be taken at face value—it only focused on 27 people, and the methods seem confusing if not unwieldy—it’s not the only research suggesting that happy thoughts lead to better health. So there might just be a reason to wear your rose-tinted glasses daily.
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