A Primer on Unrealistic Optimism

Curr Dir Psychol Sci. 2015 Jun;24(3):232-237. doi: 10.1177/0963721414568341.


People display unrealistic optimism in their predictions for countless events, believing that their personal future outcomes will be more desirable than can possibly be true. We summarize the vast literature on unrealistic optimism by focusing on four broad questions: What is unrealistic optimism; when does it occur; why does it occur; and what are its consequences.

Keywords: Unrealistic optimism; comparative optimism; optimistic bias; risk judgments; risk perception.