The Optimism Bias

Publisher: Vintage Canada
From a leading neuroscience researcher, an exploration of the neural basis of optimism, and how the brain simulates the future. How does the brain generate hope? How does it trick us into moving forward? What happens when it fails? How do the brains of optimists differ from those of pessimists? Psychologists have long been aware that most people tend to entertain an irrationally positive outlook on their lives. Optimism may be so crucial to our existence that it is hard-wired into our brains. With the emergence of MRI brain imaging, we are beginning to understand the neural mechanisms and to understand the biological basis of optimism, and how our optimistic illusions affect our financial, professional and emotional decisions.

From the Hardcover edition.


January 3, 2004, Sharm el- Sheikh. One hundred and forty- eight passengers and crew board Flash Airlines Flight 604 bound for Paris via Cairo. The Boeing 737-300 takes off at exactly 4:44 a.m. Two minutes later, it disappears from the radar.
Sharm el- Sheikh is located on the southern tip of the Sinai...
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"Her fascinating book offers compelling evidence for the neural basis of optimism and what it all means. . . . The Optimism Bias provides startling new insight into the workings of the brain."
Scientific American Book Club

"In this lively, conversational book, the author puts on firm footing what many of us have sensed all along—that we are, by and large, a pretty optimistic bunch. . . . Sharot is a friendly writer—her book brims with anecdotes and scientific studies that attest to optimism's gentling hand—though no empty smiley face. . . . A well-told, heartening report from neuroscience's front lines."
Kirkus Reviews

“Entertaining and readable, and the subject matter is fascinating. . . . The Optimism Bias provides scientific confirmation of a long-standing hunch about human behaviour.”
Winnipeg Free Press
“Fascinating. . . . Even if you’re a dedicated cynic, you might be surprised to learn that your brain is wearing rose-colored glasses, whether you like it or not.”