Monday, 23 January 2017

Optimism and Love

Are We Biased about Love?

Recently I was interviewed by David Edmonds on my recent research project on optimism and the podcast of the interview is now available at Philosophy 24/7, a new series of philosophy podcasts on topics that interest all of us and are relevant to our daily lives.

The conversation starts from the results of psychological research showing that we are biased when we think about our relationships and make predictions about how long they will last and how satisfying they will be. Essentially, we are overly optimistic about the success of our relationships and discount evidence suggesting that divorce and separation are very common, holding on to the belief that our romantic partners have ideal qualities and that we will be with them for a long time, thoroughly enjoying our time together.

One question is whether this unrealistic optimism, which can be seen as an instance of irrationality given that we believe against the evidence, is beneficial or harmful to our relationships. Research presents somewhat conflicting results on the costs and benefits of optimism, but one influential view is that some moderate optimism is good for us, helping us cope more effectively with crises.

I hope you enjoy the interview!