Being Well Podcast: The Optimism Bias and Influencing Other People with Dr. Tali Sharot
January 4, 2021

Are people optimistic by nature? And how can we use that answer to influence our behavior, or the behavior of other people? Today Forrest and I are joined by Dr. Tali Sharot to explore the optimism bias, how optimism can exist alongside negativity, and how we can influence others more effectively.

About our Guest: Dr. Tali Sharot is a Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London, and the director of the Affective Brain Lab. She’s also the author of a number of wonderful books, including The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain, and The Influential Mind: What the Brain Reveals About Our Power to Change Others

Key Ideas:

  • 1:30: What is the optimism bias, and how does it appear in people’s lives?
  • 3:30: Where does the optimism bias come from? Did we evolve it?
  • 8:45: How can someone cultivate an attitude of optimism? 
  • 13:00: Bringing good things into our awareness.
  • 16:30: The negativity bias vs. the optimism bias. 
  • 19:30: Negativity, positivity, and memory.
  • 23:00: The impact of surprise on our memory.
  • 27:30: What helps us change our behavior and form new habits?
  • 30:00: Changing behavior and beliefs on a national scale.
  • 34:30: What really influences people’s behavior?
  • 40:00: Is human nature more positive or more negative?
  • 44:00: Recap

From Dr. Hanson: The Foundations of Well-Being brings together the lessons of a lifetime of practice into one year-long online program. Also, podcast listeners can use the code BEINGWELL10  for another 10% off!

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