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PSYC 3690 Chapter Notes -Positive Illusions, Immunodeficiency, Cognitive Therapy

Course Code
PSYC 3690
Benjamin Gottlieb

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Article #: 20
Title: Positive Illusions
Dispositional Optimism - global expectations, relatively stable across time and
context, that one will experience generally good as opposed to bad outcomes in life
Illusion of Control - the perception of oneself as having more control over
environmental occurrences than is actually the case
Mental Health - those qualities thought to be essential to healthy psychological and
social functioning, including the ability to be happy or contended; the ability to form and
maintain social relationships; the ability to change and grow and to deal effectively with
stress; and the ability to engage in creative and productive works
Positive Illusions - perceptions of oneʼs personal characteristics, oneʼs degree of
control over the environment, and a view of the future that are more positive than
objective estimates suggest is realistic
Self-Aggrandizement - the tendency to regard oneself in a more positive and less
negative terms than is actually the case or than one regards to other people
Unrealistic Optimism - the perception that the future will be better, especially for
oneself, than is objectively probable
- positive illusions consist of 3 mildly self-aggrandizing biases: people view themselves
in unrealistically positive terms; they believe they have greater control over their
environmental events than is actually the case; and they hold views of the future that
are more rosy than reasonable estimates can justify
1. The Mentally Healthy Person
- positive illusions challenge traditional models of mental health
- psychological wisdom has established contact with reality as one of the hallmarks of
the mentally healthy person
- illusion = vulnerability to mental illness
- research on positive illusions found that mildly positive distortions of oneʼs personal
characteristics, oneʼs degree of control over the environment, and oneʼs estimate of
oneʼs personal future may be more psychologically adaptive
- criteria for a mentally healthy individual: (1) the ability to be happy or relatively
contented, (2) the ability to develop caring relationships with others, (3) the ability to
grow from change and cope with the inevitable stresses of life, and (4) the ability to
engage in creative and productive work and to maintain motivation, persistence, and
performance in the face of impediments and setbacks
2. Self-Aggrandizing Self-Perceptions
- people consistently regard themselves more positively and less negatively than they
regard others
- people choose evaluative dimensions on which they are certain to appear more
advantaged, they define attributes in idiosyncratic ways that emphasize their personal
strengths, and they select worse-off comparison individuals or groups that guarantee a
favourable self-other comparison
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