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PSYC*3690 Article 20.pdf

4 Pages

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 - self-serving cognitive machinations appear reliably associated with psychological well- being - people who think positively about themselves: have a sense of contentment, are more certain about their self-appraisals, have a clear sense of what their personal characteristics are, their ratings fluctuate less over time, have more internally consistent self-perceptions, may aid in coping, more likely to attain success on work- related tasks - advantages of thinking positively about oneself in childhood: facilitate the acquisition of language and the development of problem-solving and motor skills - self-aggrandizing self-perceptions are not always beneficial, and do not more beneficial the more positive they become - at the extreme, self-perceptions may interfere with adequate functioning, making people unaware of or unable to deal with information about their weaknesses 3. The Illusion of Control - most individuals appear to be less than realistic in their beliefs about the degree to which they can exert personal control over environmental occurrences - psychological theories have long maintained that a sense of personal control is integral to the self-concept and self-esteem - feelings of control that are self-generated in response to stressful occurrences, such as chronic diseases, are also associated with better adjustment - the illusion of control is not held about occurrences that are completely uncontrollable, but rather involves mild distortions of the degree of control that actually exists in many settings - perceptions of control shift in response to feedback about the success of oneʼs efforts - depressed individuals are le
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