The world can often look quite grim, particularly as we reflect on the recent events of 2012: mass shootings, a sluggish economy, intractable dictators. So why don't we just give up? In the face of so many atrocities and so much disaster and so much sadness, how do we all keep our chins up and keep moving ahead with life? And not just moving ahead with it, but doing so with a certain level of hope?
It turns out that we humans have something that professor Tali Sharot calls the "optimism bias." And it's not just a state of mind. This optimism is also a scientific phenomenon that ties into human evolution and survival.
Sharot is a research fellow in cognitive, perceptual and brain sciences at University College London and author of "The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain."