Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science

Brain Regions Responsible for Optimism Located 229

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-can-do-this dept.
TaeKwonDood writes "The brain region responsible for believing you can seduce Giselle Bundchen or make a YouTube clone for bobble-head doll movies successful has been located. Surprisingly, it is not in a bottle of Jager, it's in the rostral anterior cingulate and amygdala."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Brain Regions Responsible for Optimism Located

Comments Filter:
  • by Macrosoft0 (1128625) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @10:01PM (#21108395)
    now i must suppress those regions so i dont get too optimistic and do something stupid, like "first post" on an article, or something.
    • by arivanov (12034)
      I hear that Macrosoft0, your health insurer has been notified and you are scheduled for mandatory surgery to insert electrodes to stimulate said regions of your brain. You will also receive double the dose of electric simulation for the all-company meetings and morning team roll calls.

      We would hate you not to have happy thoughts at work after all.

      Sincerely, Your boss.
  • Aha (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    So thats why I have been sad after my wife shot me in the head!
    • Re:Aha (Score:5, Funny)

      by Edgyboy (1157885) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @06:01AM (#21110963) Homepage
      No, no, you got it all wrong. You feeling sad only means that she destroyed the part that makes you happy. If you have a strange but persistent feeling that your brain is going to grow back, your rostral anterior cingulate and amygdala are a-okay!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @10:05PM (#21108419)
    What is the use of all these discoveries. The world is going to end soon due to global warming.
  • so... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by andreyvul (1176115) <(andrey.vul) (at) (gmail.com)> on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @10:06PM (#21108423)
    pessimists are brain damaged?
    • by Nullav (1053766)
      I can't see how this was modded 'redundant'; it's not like it was asked before in this thread. It's a legitimate question. Moving on, I'd assume both ends of the spectrum are somewhat screwed up, though I'd rather be on the lawn of my burning house with a stupid grin on my face than spend my life worrying about the next day.
    • by thealsir (927362)
      I think so, at least in a sense. Or at least genetically predisposed to having less brain mass in this area.

      "Brain damage" in this sense doesn't mean the person isn't functional or somehow retarded, it's just a lot harder to get in a good mood and look at things in a positive light. On the other hand, such brain structure lends itself more to critical analysis and less "feel-goodness."
      • by h4rm0ny (722443)

        Is this going to be another case of people taking a scientific discovery in one area and attributing everything in that area to it? Saying that a region of the brain is responsible for optimism (which is not what the article says) is ignoring all our personal experience and psychological research that shows we ourselves can change our way of thinking to be more optimistic through experience and practice.

        Besides, what the researchers discovered is that when asked to think about positive events in the fut
        • by thealsir (927362)
          Oh for sure - there are multiple ways to achieve optimism, thankfully, otherwise all the people who did large amounts of drugs when and have damaged pleasure centers in their brain would be completely dysfunctional.
        • by monoqlith (610041)
          I don't know what you're trying to say. What areas do you think are altered when you learn to be optimistic 'through experience and practice'? The rostral anterior cingulate and the amygdala, the areas responsible for optimism, of course.
    • Re:so... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Trouvist (958280) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @12:50AM (#21109607)
      There's a better way of looking at it... optimism is the defect.

      As a pessimist, I personally am happier than every optimist I know. Here's why I'm always happy:
      1) If I expect the worst, and someone excellent happens, then awesome!
      And now the good part:
      2) If i expect the worst, and it actually does happen, then at least I was right!

      it is totally opposite for optimists, if someone goes wrong then not only are the wrong, but they are also unhappy, my way you always win
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fferreres (525414)
        If you are really pessimistic, you will fear it being an illusion, you may believe "this's is not it", etc. You are not really optimistic I venture to say, but agnostic. If not then, I do tend to see it that way. No matter the outcome, it's great for me. I don't have time to add bad thoughts to a reality that...mh...is. Instead of disliking the outcome, you start to figure things out as great lessons, and you learn to not matter much about the outcome, because the process (attitude?) always takes you where
      • by inviolet (797804)

        As a pessimist, I personally am happier than every optimist I know. Here's why I'm always happy [...]

        That's truer than you know. The whole secret to being content, or to satisfying others, is the management of expectations.

        If I promise you two cookies, but only give you one, you're disappointed.
        If I promise you two cookies, and give you two, you're satisfied, mostly.
        If I promise you two cookies, and give you three, you're overjoyed.

        Or look at it in reverse: the joy you get from two cookies depends ve

      • i think you're being overly optimistic about being a pessimist.... if you expect the worst you are more likely to hesitate when an opportunity arises... often until it's too late, therefore fulfilling your own prophecy of failure reinforcing your pessimistic POV, whereas someone less risk averse will jump on the opportunity and benefit while looking for the next one to come along.

        It's not about being happy, it's about being successful. Some of the happiest people are also the most deprived and most destitut
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by h2_plus_O (976551)
      No, they're just resolving two conflicting urges in a predictable, normal way.
      Pessimism is the way we attempt to protect ourselves from disappointment. ...tho if you think about it, the only context in which you'd need to protect yourself from disappointment is if there were some underlying hope in the first place.

      There's no such thing as dark, just absence of light. Perhaps pessimism is just what we call suppressed hope.
    • Basically, yes. If you define wellness as including happiness*, then yes, pessimists are brain-damaged. This is basically what buddha showed, and cured, 2500 years ago, along with many other philosophers leaders, and general humans since. Too bad the pessimists never saw the point in figuring out what he had to say ;)

      * which makes a lot of sense, since the most obviously healthy people are capable of happiness even in extreme situations.
    • pessimists are brain damaged?

      Past a threshold, maybe. But I could ask the same question about the other side of the coin: "are _optimists_ brain damaged?"

      It seems to me that the only position that is actually any use is the center line: realism. A healthy realistic assessment of how the world works and what are the _real_ chances that Y happens when you do X.

      Think of, say, the japanese game Go. You look at a group of pieces. Are they alive? Are they dead? The only good position is to just count eyes and con

      • I think optimism is something different than what you're describing (at least to me). Optimism is an attitude that thinks the best of people and situations. The things that you describe are just stupidity.

        I look at myself as an optimist. I truly believe that things will get better even if they've been getting worst. That doesn't mean I sit around waiting for it to get better. I work and make plans and do what I can to make it better and I have contingencies if they don't work, but I do it because I
  • by theskipper (461997) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @10:06PM (#21108429)
    Too bad we'll never be able to do anything with this discovery.

    Sigh.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Too bad we'll never be able to do anything with this discovery.

      What are you talking about? Now we know exactly where to gamma-knife the terrorists!
      • by Plutonite (999141)
        You are mislead if you think less "optimism" is somehow going to degrade their pseudo-religious conviction (if they are religious terrorists). They take the stuff you want them to think about for granted. It is not a spectrum; not open to question.

        In fact more optimism can help here - less chance of letting go of your life and abandoning everything to go join a bunch of unemployed criminals seeking eternal salvation/obscure cause.

    • So where exactly do I have to drive the nail into my head to finally end these suicidal thoughts?
    • by n dot l (1099033) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @10:23PM (#21108579)

      Too bad we'll never be able to do anything with this discovery.
      Pfft. I've already got a plan:
      Step 1: Grab Helmet God [slashdot.org].
      Step 2: Upgrade it to stimulate the optimism center of the brain as well.
      Step 3: ???
      Step 4: Profit!!!
      • by cybereal (621599)

        Too bad we'll never be able to do anything with this discovery.
        Pfft. I've already got a plan:
        Step 1: Grab Helmet God [slashdot.org].
        Step 2: Upgrade it to stimulate the optimism center of the brain as well.
        Step 3: ???
        Step 4: Profit!!!
        I tried this product at CES and I'm feeling very optimistic about its success.
      • by fortunada (742877) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @01:12AM (#21109709)
        Don't you mean:

        Step 4: Prophet!

    • by Joe the Lesser (533425) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @10:25PM (#21108599) Homepage Journal
      I've got a good feeling about it!
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by badarabdad (1179327)
      if transcranial magnetic stimulation improves in accuracy and resolution, as it likely will over the next decade, we may be looking at a drug-free (read:side-effect free) way to treat depression by targeting these areas. hell, even implanted stimulating electrodes may help.

      I'm not sure how well this method is examining "optimism" as much as it is expected rewards or punishments. optimism is someone's ability to look on the bright side of life and who can view the bad things more positively. that is not

  • by imstanny (722685) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @10:12PM (#21108477)

    The brain region responsible for believing you can seduce Giselle Bundchen or make a YouTube clone for bobble-head doll movies successful has been located.
    Firstly, there's a difference between optimism and delusion. Secondly... forget it, Giselle is here for a booty call.
  • optimism? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @10:13PM (#21108489)
    So I guess this is the brain region that makes some people think their article summaries going to end up perceived as clever or funny.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @10:13PM (#21108493)
    Optimistic people may try things because they think there will be a good outcome. Often, it's a self-fulfilling prophesy. It's hard to be optimistic if you are delusional and always try to do things that just-aren't-on. An optimistic person is more likely to be satisfied with an adequately attractive mate than to try seducing a movie star. Optimism is about lowering your expectations enough that they are often exceeded. Then you think the world is a wonderful place because you got a better deal than you bargained for.
    • Optimism is about lowering your expectations enough that they are often exceeded.
      WTF is wrong with you mods today?? P spouts bullshit like the above quote and gets modded insightful, but 1st post doesn't get modded funny.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by blahplusplus (757119)
      "Optimistic people may try things because they think there will be a good outcome."

      I think we need both, I think they are survival tools that seperate good opportunities from bad ones, and being open since the opportunities and risks we can't know for sure, so we have a mechanism that tries its best to sort the two.
    • 1. That's not the definition of optimism I've learned.

      Just in case my grasp of English isn't up to snuff, let's look at what the American Heritage Dictionary has to say about it:

      1. A tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of
      a situation: "There is a touch of optimism in every worry about one's own moral cleanliness"
      (Victoria Ocampo).
      2. Philosophy
      1. The doctrine, asserted by Leibnitz, that this world is the best of all possible

  • by RobinH (124750) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @10:15PM (#21108517) Homepage
    I was accused of being too pessimistic, so I went and read a little about the subject. The most interesting thing I found was a book by Julie Norem called "The Positive Power of Negative Thinking" [defensivepessimism.com].

    She puts forward a case that optimism/pessimism is a result of how your personality reacts to stress. Optimists tend to ignore the things that could go wrong, so they don't get stressed in the first place, and are therefore happier people. When bad things do go wrong, optimists tend to relate it to external causes. On the other hand, pessimists are pessimists because they have a tendency to be anxious. They immediately foresee the risks of each situation (due to their personality, not a conscious decision) and therefore they map out alternatives to each bad outcome until they've relieved their stress by feeling confident that, no matter what happens, they have a plan for every eventuality. When things still go wrong, pessimists tend to ask themselves what they could have done differently to avoid the bad outcome (internalizing it).

    When an optimist and a pessimist face a situation together, the pessimist causes stress in the optimist by pointing out what could go wrong. The optimist causes stress in the pessimist by refusing to make contingency plans.

    Once I realized all this, I was able to continue making contingency plans to keep my own stress under control, but I am now more careful about voicing my internal thought process around people who I know are optimists.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      In a team situation, the optimist always has someone to blame when the project fails.
      After all, contingency plans are the job of the pessimist.
    • by topham (32406)

      Free bonus on being a pessimist; if you're right then you can feel good about anticipating it. If you're wrong then the outcome is better than you expected, and is a good thing.

      • by rm999 (775449)
        Free bonus on being an optimist; if you're right, you didn't waste effort worrying about it. If you're wrong, then you can claim the situation was beyond your control.

        I love being an optimist :)
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dunkelfalke (91624)
          actually an optimist has only disappointments in his life.
          compare that to a pessemist who has only happy surprises.
          • by gauauu (649169)

            actually an optimist has only disappointments in his life.
            compare that to a pessemist who has only happy surprises.


            While clever, my experience is that an optimist not only expects the best, but sees the best in every situation, so they are usually happy or satisfied with the results.

            A pessimist expects the worst, and then sees the negative in the situation, and grudgingly thinks, "see, what did I tell you?"
    • by Soko (17987) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @10:45PM (#21108749) Homepage
      Once I realized all this, I was able to continue making contingency plans to keep my own stress under control, but I am now more careful about voicing my internal thought process around people who I know are optimists.

      Hm. A pessimist has contingency plans for dealing with an optimist. Makes sense.

      Soko
    • by russotto (537200)
      Hmm. If your summary is correct, then as a pessimist, I just don't want any optimists around. They're not going to make contingency plans, and if things do go wrong (as of course they will), they're going to blame "external causes" -- which of course includes the pessimists around.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by aethera (248722)
      Strange, I must be one of those exceptions that prove the rule. I am a definitely a contingency planner, in things as small as what route I take to work each morning to having a packed a ready Go bag that has everything myself and my family would need to survive in case of, well just about anything survivable; food, maps, hand tools, cash, etc. But I'm not a pessimist. When I analyze a situation I also think about probabilities, and lets face it, the really bad stuff that can happen is pretty uncommon. My r
      • by not-quite-rite (232445) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @11:09PM (#21108933) Homepage Journal
        It doesn't sound like you are an exception at all.

        Just because you are cheerful to people doesn't make you an optimist!

        I would say that you are comfortable in your pessimism, and are just getting better at contingency planning(well except for the denial of being a pessimist :P )

        That's not to say that complex human behaviours can be broken cleanly into a binary state of pessimism/optimism - it's maybe more of a sliding scale. It's just a pity we don't have more words to describe where people sit on that scale....

        Signing off as a cheerful pessimist myself(who finds it offensive when people have dumb ideas that will fail, and I am called "negative" for pointing it out, and then being right!)

        • by pipingguy (566974) *
          "If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long."

          I guess that's true...unless of course you actually like (or acquire) the taste of live frog. And it doesn't mention anything about just licking one, let alone slowly-boiled frogs.

          PS I speak French.
      • When the shit does hit the fan, the pessimists are the only ones prepared to comp, thus they aren't the ones freaking out. There's nothing odd or unexpected (ha!) about that. Pessimism only gets to be a problem if your sense of probabilities it distorted enough that you spend too much time worrying about things that are very unlikely, and end up not being well prepared for the most likely outcome.
      • by aztektum (170569)
        Perhaps you're not a pessimist NOR an optimist but a realist, I use the word here to mean "middle of the road". Moderation is key in all things, right? I know people that would consider themselves incredibly optimistic who are ill equipped to deal with misfortune and dismay in a stable fashion (my ex being a recent example).

        Likewise I've known pessimists who stay in most of the time and avoid the world because they're too afraid of bad shit happening.

        I trend towards more pessimist than optimist, but I'm wor
      • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @12:24AM (#21109457)
        You're confusing "pessimist" with "doomsayer". The terms are not equivalent. A pessimist is someone who acknowledges the existence of that bastard Murphy and his friends: in other words, a fatalistic acceptance of reality. True optimists may be more fun to be around when everything is going well, but as they willfully remain blissfully unaware of what is, they are risky companions indeed (everyone driving an SUV at 80 MPH on the highway with a cell phone plastered to his or her ear is an optimist.)

        Granted, pessimists who continually voice their concerns get a negative rep, no argument. However, most pessimists I know (including myself) have justifiable confidence in an eventual positive outcome because of that pessimism. We've made plans, tried to account for all the possible negative (trust me, pessimism is hard work!) and if we fail it's because we missed something, not because we didn't believe anything could go wrong. NASA, for example, is populated by pessimists ... believe me, you don't want an optimist designing your spacecraft: you'll burn to a crisp at liftoff. Conversely, true optimists rarely make any effort to ensure their goals are achieved, and simply have faith that everything will work out in the end. Sometimes they are right (sometimes pigs fly), but usually they're completely blindsided when everything that can go wrong does, because they refused to acknowledge the possibility.

        On the other hand, optimists do make better leaders, this is true. After all, people are rarely inspired by pessimists. However, the most successful optimistic leaders learn early on to depend upon their more pessimistic advisors, or they don't last long.

        In any event, optimists are among the most irritating people I know. I mean, sometimes you just want to take them by the lapels and shake some awareness into them. But you can't: ignorance is curable but optimism is forever.
      • by juuri (7678)
        Pragmatism is what you might be suffering a case of. :)

        After being in any industry long enough you develop a tough skin for things that go wrong and learn to plan accordingly. More importantly this body of experience allows you to not be stressed when the shit hits the fan, you've conquered worse messes than this in the past. Most pessimists who act out aren't showing the world their negative attitude, they are showing their fear at being unable or unprepared to handle a situation.
    • ... They immediately foresee the risks of each situation (due to their personality, not a conscious decision) ...
      I would tend to say it is because they are in the habit of using their brains.

      (Yes, there are smart optimists, but it almost always turns out that they are either being ignorant or they aren't just afraid of the potential negative consequences.)
      • thanks. I've been trying to figure out exactly what it is about most slashdotters that gives me the feeling I'm not really welcome here. In fact, your post nicely sums up why society shuns nerds in general.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dbcad7 (771464)
      What the heck makes you think an optimist doesn't also have, or won't make, contingency plans ?

      That you generally have an outlook that things will work out, doesn't automatically make you single minded. A true optimist sees little point in expending energy on worrying.. this energy is better used at finding what will produce a positive result.. Also, an optimist would not be affected by a pessimists stress, but rather they would be annoyed at the wasted energy.

      Things go wrong (and right) for both optimist

      • having the outlook that things will work out don't make you single-minded, as long as your name isn't George Bush, or as long as you don't totally absolve all your responsibilities in the name of "faith".
        • by dbcad7 (771464)
          In 2004, the optimists against Bush went to the polls to vote .. the pessimists against him figured their vote didn't matter and stayed home.

          Unfortunately there are many pessimists who fear change... they also voted.

    • by ksheff (2406)

      On the other hand, pessimists are pessimists because they have a tendency to be anxious. They immediately foresee the risks of each situation (due to their personality, not a conscious decision) and therefore they map out alternatives to each bad outcome until they've relieved their stress by feeling confident that, no matter what happens, they have a plan for every eventuality. When things still go wrong, pessimists tend to ask themselves what they could have done differently to avoid the bad outcome (inte

    • I've heard of this book before, and I think you have to very careful with such a way of thinking if you are at all susceptible to depression. (And most people are susceptible to at least minor depression.) Pessimistic thinking can have major emotional consequences, and a lack of positive thoughts can lead to giving up before you ever get started. Some people may be exceptions, but for the majority, having a generally positive outlook is necessary for day to day functioning. If you're not a robot, you can't
    • As an Optimist i like working with pessimists.
      Well at least the ones with your outlook.
      I know i can bounce ideas off them and quickly refine it to a workable solution.
      By using their innate ability to see the problems. Better still if challenged they see workable solutions in crazy solutions.

      Or are they the ones challenging me to workable solutions?
      I'm not sure. I do know that if working with someone who puts up the wall of "that won't work" the ideas become crazier not saner.

      It kinda fun working with the go
    • I have struggled with depression and pessimism myself, and I have read bits and pieces of this book. The author seems to be focused on Pollyanna optimists who ignore reality and believe they can conquer all. Real optimists do some contingency planning, but don't allow fear based on contingencies to keep them from action. Real optimists don't believe nothing will go wrong, but accept those things that do go wrong as part of the process, and don't let hard times bury them.

      Pessimism is about fear and anxiety

    • by Aceticon (140883)
      My personal experience of being a full blown, certified Optimist while at the same time being the kind of person that does a lot of self-analysis and tries to understand his own motivations and those of others is a bit different from what you describe.

      As i experience it, Optimism is not about ignoring problems or ignoring things that can go wrong. It's all about celebrating the things that do go right and not becoming demoralized when things go wrong.

      Optimists can be just as pragmatic as Pessimists: we're p
  • Damn (Score:4, Funny)

    by MSTCrow5429 (642744) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @10:20PM (#21108551)
    Mine's missing.
  • by wcb4 (75520) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @10:20PM (#21108553)
    so are we now able to remove this completely useless section of the brain then. I've always though that optimistic people had something wrong with them and now that this diseases portion of the brain has been islolated it can hopefully be removed allowing those previously affli ted by optimi
    to lead more productive lives.

  • Artificial optimism? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Camael (1048726)
    Perhaps the day is coming close when we will be able to artifically induce optimism in ourselves by tickling the right brain cells.

    Feeling nervous before an interview? *zap*
    Footballer lacks confidence before a game? *zap*
    Going out for your first date? *zap*
    Meeting her parents? *zap*

    This is a guaranteed major money spinner, and I won't be surprised if it becomes addictive as well.
  • Depression? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Siridar (85255)
    This is just a pure stab in the dark here, but could a drug stimulating this region be used to help depression? One of the symptoms seems to be a feeling of despair and inability - turning this feeling around by (chemically) convincing folks that they /can/ pull themselves out of the hole they're in might work.
    • by hrvatska (790627)
      Stimulating that region in a depressed person would probably result in someone who's optimistic about the chances of their next suicide attempt succeeding.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Siridar (85255)
        So...what you're saying is, if you're depressed, you're not likely to attempt to kill yourself because you wouldn't succeed? I don't think that's the case. If you've got a optimistic frame of mind, I think suicide would be pretty far down the list...rather than thinking "there's no way out of this, death is my only option" it'd be more like "I can pull myself out of this, all I really need to do is try". Chemically-assisted affirmations, if you will...
    • by thealsir (927362)
      I am certain. And I'm certain there will be drug technologies for all purposes revolving around this in coming years.
    • by FleaPlus (6935)
      This is just a pure stab in the dark here, but could a drug stimulating this region be used to help depression?

      I don't know about drugs, but I do know that it's already been shown that deep brain stimulation in the subgenual cingulate region (somewhat in the vicinity of the rostral anterior cingulate region mentioned in the summary) is effective in treating severe clinical depression. Unfortunately, it's quite an invasive procedure, and not the sort of thing which should be performed lightly.

      http://en.wikip [wikipedia.org]
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @10:50PM (#21108781)

    Surprisingly, it is not in a bottle of Jager, it's in the rostral anterior cingulate and amygdala.

    So, what exactly is it in the bottle of Jager that makes your rostral anterior cingulate and amygdala think you can get a date with Gisele?

    Put another way, getting drunk can make you optimistic - it would be interesting to study the effects of alcohol on that region of the brain. If that portion of the brain could be stimulated in some other way it could lead to a powerful new series of drugs to battle depression. Or improve combat effectiveness. Or maybe even get you that date with Gisele.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by greg_barton (5551) *

      Or maybe even get you that date with Gisele.

      Or get you really excited about political candidate X when you go to their speech.
    • Interestingly enough, it actually takes a lot of processing power for your brain to read a situation and say, "hold on there hormones, she ain't letting us till her fields," which means that when you suppress it enough with depressants like alcohol, the more primal "fight or flight" and "feed or breed" instincts strengthen.
  • ...despite calling you a lilly-livered nerd-faced card-carrying SCO-fan-club hippo-ass face with a check-sum-faulting 286 for a brain.
  • Amygdala? (Score:5, Funny)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr@mac.cEINSTEINom minus physicist> on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @11:13PM (#21108957) Journal
    Wasn't she the hot chick in that star wars movie?

    -jcr

  • Is that the same part of the brain that makes gators 'ornery?
  • I ain't got no brain regions, 'sponsible for nuthin!

    Just look at this post!

  • Queue the "Natalie Portman" + "Hot Grits" memes
  • Assumptions (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SourGrapes (1003959)
    The article seems to assume that optimists (people whose rostral anterior cingulate and amygdala are highly active) are the norm, or at least the ideal, and that pessimists (where those regions are less active) have something "going wrong." I wonder if that's actually the case. Optimism may FEEL better (obviously depression is pretty rotten), and it's apparently beneficial to the optimists (or so studies have indicated), but does it more accurately describe reality? Lots of people say that they're not pe
    • by Rui del-Negro (531098) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @12:23AM (#21109451) Homepage
      Optimists believe we live in the best possible world. Pessimists fear that might be true.
    • Well, overall, people tend to be optimistic in their assessments of their own abilities and their own odds for various future events. You know, the whole "90% of people think they're above average" thing, which holds true for a lot of different traits. And people think it's less likely than average that bad things will happen to them, and more likely than average that good things will happen. There are a ton of factors that have been investigated as playing into these - from cognitive errors that cause peop
    • by h2_plus_O (976551)

      The article seems to assume that optimists (people whose rostral anterior cingulate and amygdala are highly active) are the norm, or at least the ideal, and that pessimists (where those regions are less active) have something "going wrong." I wonder if that's actually the case.
      I wonder too. Perhaps pessimism is the normal, healthy way to temper the natural optimism governed by this part of the brain? Not everything has to come down to pathology.
    • IMO, pessimists seem to be pessimistic about everything (except for the hope that Linux will be taken seriously). An optimist understands when to be pessimistic, as in understsnding that Vista will very soon control 90%+ of the market. Pessimists go so far to find the "bad" in things, to the flaw of being wrong. Apessimist slashdotter (pardon the redundancy) will go on and on about how Mac OS X is riddled with security holes, even when faced with the reality there have been zero viruses outbreaks in 6 y
  • Perfect. A region that causes optimism, without the rest of the brain to back it up. Let's call it the "Stiffler" region, after good ol' Steve from the American Pie movie.
  • by noidentity (188756) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @12:47AM (#21109587)
    I'm usually cranky about claims to have found the part of the brain that does X, since this pre-supposes that X is done in a particular part. In a computer, some things like long-term data storage are localizable. Other things like getting the size of a file aren't performed in any particular part. If you believed that getting the size of a file was done in some particular part, you might find out where activity occurs (changes of states) when you ask for the size of a file, and then erroneously conclude that the hard disk is what gets the size of a file, when the real behavior is a combination of the hard disk, CPU, RAM, bus, and operating system. Again, it's the assumption that every behavior or ability you can label is the result of some area of the brain whose only function is that behavior or ability.</rant>
    • by PineGreen (446635)
      You're obviously a pessimist, aren't you?
    • by Jay L (74152)
      Yes, and if there's one thing everybody on Slashdot knows, it's that a computer is a perfect metaphor for the human brain.
  • pfft (Score:4, Funny)

    by sh3l1 (981741) * on Thursday October 25, 2007 @12:49AM (#21109603) Homepage
    pfft... they will never be able to find the pessimistic part of the brain.
  • by tsa (15680) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @12:55AM (#21109647) Homepage
    I think the tag feature that /. has works very well. If I had heard about this article being on /., I certainly would use the search criteria "science, overactiverostralanteriorcingulateandamygdala, datewithgisele, datewithgiselebundchen, giselebundchen". I wouldn't know how to find this particular article in any other way.
    • by patio11 (857072)
      >>
      I wouldn't know how to find this particular article in any other way.
      >>

      Don't worry, deep in the Slashcode is a sophisticated AI routine which recreates content if it detects that an interested reader missed it the first time. Sadly, it is written in Perl and no one knows how to edit it to make it only show the content to that reader... Some folks have suggested disabling it but, again, its Perl -- who knows whether it also controls launch codes for nuclear missiles...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by caluml (551744)
      It does sort of work. For instance, when I want to find an article about Vista, I know to search for defectivebydesign. It's just a pseudo-code to confuse outsiders.
      • by tsa (15680)
        OK, I see, so if I want to find an article about the behaviour of Piranha vs the Microsoft SQL server, I look for "Natalie Portman"!
  • Sorry, I can't stop it, my brain's just wired to think like that.

  • When presented with a half full glass of beer, here are the reactions that determine your personality:

    The optimist: The glass if half full
    The pessimist: The glass is half empty
    The pedant: The glass is too big
    The paranoid: Who drank half my beer?
    The engineer: We have a 100% design margin
    The slashdotter: What's beer?
    The average US
    school leaver: What's half?
    The surrealist: The glass is a pink frog
    The opportunist: It's your round
    The drunk: Ar

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

Working...