A new paper has recently been published in the Journal of Neuroscience, outlining work carried out by lab director Dr Liat Levita, alongside other researchers from University College London and Princeton University.
The studies stemmed from observations that humans are better at integrating desirable information into their beliefs than undesirable information. However, this bias could also lead to underestimation of risk and subsequent failure to take precautionary action. Based on the results of two experiments, the authors suggest a mechanism whereby humans are biased towards desirable information, until there is a perception of threat in the environment, and the bias vanishes. This mechanism would result in enhanced caution in dangerous environments, whilst otherwise supporting an optimism bias that could potentially increase well-being.
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