The Chicago Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908, yet even after 103 years a number of Windy City sports fans will daydream about the Cubbies winning the title next year.
Let's face it, a majority of sports fans enjoy overactive imaginations. Scientists have been trying to figure out why not just with diehard sports fans but people in general always have such a positive outlook on life.
A faulty brain is to blame for those rose-colored glasses, according to researchers at the Welcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at the University College London.
Scientists believe that unrealistically optimistic people who don't use common sense when making predictions, such as the Clippers winning the NBA championship, have an error in the brain relating to processing information.
Nineteen volunteers were tested while having an MRI measure brain activity. The subjects were asked the chances of extremely negative things such as being crime victim happening to them. They were then told the real chances of such things happening. Later the volunteers were asked the questions again to measure their level of optimism.
The study, published over the weekend in Nature Neuroscience, found that people's improved estimates only when the outcome was better than they expected. They often ignored the data if the outcome was worse than envisioned.
Researchers discovered people who always look on the bright side had "faulty" function of the frontal lobes in their brain.
"Our study suggests that we pick and choose the information that we listen to," Dr. Tali Sharot explained. "The more optimistic we are, the less likely we are to be influenced by negative information about the future. This can have benefits for our mental health, but there are obvious downsides. Many experts believe the financial crisis in 2008 was precipitated by analysts overestimating the performance of their assets even in the face of clear evidence to the contrary."
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