The glass is half full and half empty: A population-representative twin study testing if optimism and pessimism are distinct systems

Timothy C. Bates*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Optimism and pessimism are associated with important outcomes including health and depression. Yet it is unclear ifthese apparent polar opposites form a single dimension or reflect two distinct systems. The extent to which personalityaccounts for differences in optimism/pessimism is also controversial. Here, we addressed these questions in a geneticallyinformative sample of 852 pairs of twins. Distinct genetic influences on optimism and pessimism were found. Significantfamily-level environment effects also emerged, accounting for much of the negative relationship between optimism andpessimism, as well as a link to neuroticism. A general positive genetics factor exerted significant links among both per-sonality and life-orientation traits. Both optimism bias and pessimism also showed genetic variance distinct from alleffects of personality and from each other. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-542
JournalThe Journal of Positive Psychology
Volume10
Issue number6
Early online date25 Feb 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • behavior genetics
  • Big Five
  • optimism
  • personality
  • pessimism
  • twins

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The glass is half full and half empty: A population-representative twin study testing if optimism and pessimism are distinct systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this