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Why Some People are Optimists (Despite Everything)

How some people stay positive despite evidence to the contrary has been discovered. Researchers have also discovered how our brains recognize family members (and whether or not recognizing relatives makes you happy depends on your family!)

Some brains are better than others when it comes to processing good news about the future. In extreme cases, anything negative is practically ignored, and this attitude brings positive health benefits.

Researchers say that about 80% of people are optimists, even if they don't realize it. Our brains tend to choose which evidence to pay attention to. In BBC News, James Gallagher quotes brain scientist Tali Sharot as saying, "Smoking kills messages don't work as people think their chances of cancer are low. The divorce rate is 50%, but people don't think it's the same for them. There is a very fundamental bias in the brain."

When we scan a crowd or a photo album for someone we're related to, we're paying attention to subtle facial features. Whether comparing a man and a woman or a parent and a baby (or an owner and his dog?), we can somehow tell when two people of different age or sex are genetically related. Brain scientist Harry J. Griffin says, "Being able to see the family resemblance between faces that have some underlying difference, such as the difference between male and female faces, is an ability that is not well understood. When we see a face, we compare it to an average face for that gender, allowing us to pick out only the face cues that tell us about family membership while disregarding the irrelevant gender cues."

And if you're an optimist, you disregard any bad news about those newly-recognized relatives! Here at unknowncountry.com, we TRY to stay optimistic, but we get blue when we don't get enough support from our readers and listeners. Have Whitley and Anne fended off so many attacks over the years, only to die from neglect today? Only YOU can change that: Subscribe today!

Do happy people hear a Melody the rest of us don't. YOU can hear it too, when "Melody Burning" is published on December 5th! Anne Strieber thought of it, Whitley Strieber wrote it, and YOU can pre-order it now!



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