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Brain Regions Responsible for Optimism Located

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the I-can-do-this dept.

Science 229

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."

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excellent... (5, Funny)

Macrosoft0 (1128625) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:excellent... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21108441)

My first contact with fisting was, of course, in San Francisco.
I was out on the coast for a round of job interviews with VA Linux.
My fluffy-sweater acquaintances in Cincinnati had scoped out
the territory the previous summer and were full of dire warnings
about South of Market in general and The Hothouse in particular,
so of course that was the first place I headed. Now, fisting
wasn't exactly a deep, dark mystery to me...somewhere along the
line I had acquired the book from the movie classic "Erotic Hands"
and I'd been jerking off to that for quite a while. You might say
I was into the concept if not the reality.

Well, The Hothouse was everything I had been warned it was...humpy
dudes wandering around in body harnesses leading their slaves on
leashes, the whole trip. I nearly came when I walked into the
shower room hunkered down on a plastic hose while he sucked his
buddy's oversize cock. I checked out the sling rooms, but I spent
most of the night doing conventional if rougher-than-usual sex.

I fell asleep with my door cracked. The next morning I woke up
with this warm, wet feeling on my arm. I looked up and there was
this hairy, muscular little dude impaled on my arm to the elbow!
Holy shit! He looked down at me and grinned "Good morning" "Good
morning yourself fucker." " Can you dig it!" "For sure, but I've
never done it before" Well, that turned his motor on, and soon
became oblivious that he wasn't gonna dismount my arm until he had
showed me all the right moves. We ended up with me punch-fucking
him doggy--style with a cheering audience of six or seven
leathermen. Well, my arm was busy most of the morning, but my
asshole stayed virgin.

I sorta filed the experience away and chewed on it until my next
trip to the coast. I only knew one dude in Cincinnati that was
into handball, and we were friends, not fuck-buddies, so I didn't
get a chance to practice again until another job interview took me
to San Diego. The job panned out. and I moved to California.

Now, you have to understand where I was coming from. Cincinnati
is one of the most tight-assed Republican cities in the Midwest.
There was one gay bar and no baths. If you wanted steam you had
to drive to Cleveland, Toledo or Chicago. So the first couple of
years in San Diego I was like a kid in a candy shop...baths, bars,
and Balboa Park!

I fisted if I was asked, and if I was in a "top" mood I got off on
it to a certain extent, but something was missing. What that
"something" was I found out one night at the old Fourth Avenue
Baths in Hillcrest. I was cruising the "open" rooms and came
across this hot little blond surfer-type. We started getting it
on, and our hands both started to go for the ass about the same
time, so he called a halt to go fetch the Crisco and poppers. Now,
fisting wasn't particularly on my mind...I figured we'd trade fucks
and that would be that. How was I to know that gay surfers in San
Diego get into handball?

Well. pretty soon we were pretty busy finger-fucking each other
while we sixty-nined. Then he called a halt and sat up and looked
at me. "Wanna go further?" "As in what?" "Fisting, man." "You
or me?" "Whatever," he muttered. "Well, I've never had it, but
I'm up for trying." Bingo! The idea of a virgin really pushed his
button, so pretty soon I'm on my back with my ass propped up on a
pillow and him sitting cross-legged below me.

"Your head's gonna get it done for you" he told me. "You gotta
want me inside you. It's just like takin' a big cock. It'll hurt
like hell goin' over the widest part of my knuckles, but then once
it's inside you're gonna lose your mind!" Well, we had smoked a
couple of joints and I was pretty mellowed out and the dude wasn't
tryin' to hurry me. We rapped about all kinds of shit, but all the
time there was this gentle but insistent pressure at my asshole.
"How much you got in?" I'd ask him from time to time but he
wouldn't tell me. "Don't worry about it...just relax and enjoy."

I kept playin' with my cock and that made my ass tighten up, so he
pulled the laces from his boot and tied my hands behind my head so
I couldn't jack off. Now I don't usually do bondage with a
stranger, but we were really into each other's heads by now, and
I figured what the shit, my legs were still free to kick if he got
radical.

We kept on like this for about an hour...then he looked me in the
eye and said, "Pull your knees back to your tits." "is this it,
man? I'm not sure I'm ready." "You're ready...your fuckin' ass
is just beggin' for my hand. Cummon, pull 'em back." He got up
on his knees and started pushing my legs down with his chest until
his face was right over mine. "Common, man, take my fuckin' fist.
You can do it!" He shoved a popper under my nose and my ass caught
fire! One fiery bolt of pain and he was in! The fucker had his
goddamned fist up my butt. "Slow deep breaths, man...take slow,
deep breaths. Get used to it, then we'll play." Now I was leakin'
gum like a firehose by this point. I couldn't imagine it getting
any more intense/painful/better, but it did. He gave me a few
minutes to calm down, then he shoved the popper under my nose again
and started to make a fist inside me. "AAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGHHH! Take
it easy man!" "Just makin' the fist, dude. Now I'm gonna do a
little twistin'." "Well, he did a little twistin' and I did a lot
of twistin' and yellin', but he just kept at it, slow and steady.
I drifted into a semi-trance impaled on this hot little dude's
hand. Experienced bottoms say that there's a good deal of yoga and
meditation involved...now I understood what they meant.

He looked down at me and grinned. "REady for a little depth?"
"You're running this trip, man. You got me fuckin' tied up and
held down so I can't move anything but my eyelashes. Guess if you
wanna go for dept I'm gonna have to go along! "Fuckin'-A-right!
You just slide down on my arm fucker. We're gonna go for the
elbow!" Now, that might sound a little bit radical for the first
time, but once he'd gotten in past the knuckles it was a matter of
degree. Actually, his outstretched hand and forearm was easier to
take than the clenched rotating fist. "Can you sit up?" he asked
me after awhile. "If you help me" "I want you to see, man.
You've got my fuckin' arm up to the elbow!" I didn't believe him,
but he pulled me up until I was bent like a pretzel and I could see
my red, tautly-stretched asshole around the beginning of his
muscular bicep. "I gotta cum, man," I moaned. "I gotta cum so
fuckin' gad!" "Oh, yeah, shoot your fuckin' load! Cummon,
motherfucker, shoot it!!" He was givin' me long, slow strokes with
his arm...all the was out to the wrist and then all the way back
to the elbow! He grabbed my cock and it was all over. I must have
shot for five minutes! The first load landed on the wall over my
head. "YYYYEEEOOWWW! OK. OK, ease out, man,ease out! He slowly
withdrew his arm and we collapsed.

"Like it?" he grinned. "Like it! Jesus, I loved it! You have
great hands man." "You might be sore for a day or two." "That's
cool." "Wanna do me?" "As soon as I catch my breath." We
stretched out and dozed for awhile then I started to get itchy to
get into his ass. It only took him about half and hour...he was
experienced, but I have fairly big hands. He started to get a
little worried, though, when I started sneakin' a couple of extra
fingers up along side my hand. "Hey, uh, I don't think I can take
much more." "First time for everything, dude." I chuckled. "Yeah,
well, I guess, only go easy, man, OK?" "No problem...just relax
and enjoy." Well, about another fifteen minutes I was shakin'
hands with myself inside this dude's steaming hole, and it was his
turn to beg. "Oh Christ, let me cum, please! Jack me off, man.
I gotta cum!" Well, that presented a problem since both my hands
were busy, so I took his aching cock in my mouth. He arched his
back and his asshole tightened around my wrists until I thought
they were gonna break. He shot so hard I thought I was gonna
drown! "JJJJJEEEEESSSSSUUUUUSSS! Take it out...please take it
out!" I slowly pulled one hand after the other out of his
exhausted hole. We staggered to the showers and soaped each other
down, and then we crashed. We exchanged phone numbers and played
a couple of times after that, either at the baths or at the FFA
parties. I lost track of him, and the Fourth Avenue Baths closed
down, but I'll never forget him.

Re:excellent... (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21109367)

Yes, but does it run Linux? Imagine a Beowulf cluster of these!

Re:excellent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21109667)

I'm optimistic: I think people who post those yucky stories will die gruesome painful deaths.

yawn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21109379)

Wake me when they find the brain region responsible for intelligent article summaries and tags. zzzznnork..mmmm....giselllle....zzzzzz

Aha (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21108399)

So thats why I have been sad after my wife shot me in the head!

Re:Aha (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21108435)

First of all, it wasn't your wife. It was your uncle. And he didn't shoot you with a gun. He shot you with his sticky manseed. You feel sad because you got sperm in your eye.

What is the use (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21108419)

What is the use of all these discoveries. The world is going to end soon due to global warming.

Re:What is the use (1)

swordfishBob (536640) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108795)

What is the use of all these discoveries. The world is going to end soon due to global warming

Either:
- your rostral anterior cingulate and amygdala are deficient
- you're using them to presume you could convince us you have such a deficiency
- you're using them to presume you can amuse us, but you haven't been modded "funny", so I think your optimism is misplaced.

Re:What is the use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21108843)

Missing option:
You can't tell a joke from a mile away.

MOD PARENT UP (1)

NosTROLLdamus (979044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109729)

+1 Marvin

Bah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21108421)

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

Tell that to Dubya.

Re:Bah. (-1, Troll)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108849)

I think "Dubya's" problem is that his rostral anterior cingulate and amygdala are extremely overdeveloped. That's why the idiot thought he could invade two countries without having a single American killed. It's how he could think the mission was accomplished long before an additional 2500 or so Americans would give their lives. It's how he can look some 10,000 maimed Americans in the eye (if he would ever bother to visit them) and tell them their permanent disfigurement is really because they were fightin' "terra" instead of protecting Iraq's oil fields.

Nope, the chimp isn't downing Jagermeister. He may be hopped up on antidepressants though. What White House physicians prescribe is not for public view. But anyone who could preside over such a fiasco as the Iraq war, have many world leaders publicly make jokes about how stupid he is, and have most of his own country (save Faux News) and his own party constantly rip him to shreds for what he has done to this country, has to be relying on some kind of artificial courage. Or maybe he is just gulping Jager...

Re:Bah. (1)

ConcreteJungle (1177207) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108959)

Oh c'mon, give the man a break Something deep inside my brain tells me that we will come through all of this much better off than now :-)

so... (3, Interesting)

andreyvul (1176115) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108423)

pessimists are brain damaged?

Re:so... (1)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108789)

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.

Re:so... (1)

thealsir (927362) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108861)

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."

Re:so... (5, Funny)

Trouvist (958280) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:so... (2, Interesting)

h2_plus_O (976551) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109687)

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.

That's nice. (4, Funny)

theskipper (461997) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108429)

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

Sigh.

Re:That's nice. (2, Interesting)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108503)

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!

Re:That's nice. (1)

Plutonite (999141) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109043)

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.

Re:That's nice. (1)

Quasar1999 (520073) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108513)

So where exactly do I have to drive the nail into my head to finally end these suicidal thoughts?

Re:That's nice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21108923)

Any part will do if the nail is long-enough.

Re:That's nice. (4, Funny)

n dot l (1099033) | more than 6 years ago | (#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!!!

Re:That's nice. (1)

cybereal (621599) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109635)

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.

Re:That's nice. (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109691)

Step 2: Upgrade it to stimulate the optimism center of the brain as well.
Step 3: ???
??? indeed.

Making people optimistic isn't going to make them any more productive, creative, or thoughtful.

- RG>

Re:That's nice. (5, Funny)

fortunada (742877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109709)

Don't you mean:

Step 4: Prophet!

Re:That's nice. (1)

BowlMagnet (1179243) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108587)

We can cut them out and save ourselves a lot of agravation!

Re:That's nice. (4, Funny)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108599)

I've got a good feeling about it!

have we located (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21108431)

have we located the part of the brain responsible for horrible slashdot summaries?

exciting (-1, Redundant)

Digitus1337 (671442) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108433)

How exciting! Things are looking up!

Are you Deluded?! (5, Funny)

imstanny (722685) | more than 6 years ago | (#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? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Optimism != delusion (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Mods clicking at random (2, Interesting)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108589)

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:Mods clicking at random (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21108775)

WTF is wrong with you mods today??
The same thing that's wrong with them every day. Too much Jager and not enough amygdala.

Re:Optimism != delusion (2, Interesting)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108773)

"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.

A book about pessimism (5, Interesting)

RobinH (124750) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108517)

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:A book about pessimism (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21108647)

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.

Re:A book about pessimism (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21108653)

So, never trust an optimistic sys admin.

Re:A book about pessimism (1)

topham (32406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108729)


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.

Re:A book about pessimism (1)

rm999 (775449) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109049)

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:A book about pessimism (4, Insightful)

Soko (17987) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108749)

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

Re:A book about pessimism (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108787)

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:A book about pessimism (2, Interesting)

aethera (248722) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108845)

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 reputation at work is always staying cool *and cheerful* under crisis. I often joke with some of my junior coworkers that when they've been around as long as I have, they'll have seen enough really really bad shit happen that the bar will be set to high to get worked up about your more garden variety chaos.

Re:A book about pessimism (3, Interesting)

not-quite-rite (232445) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108933)

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!)

Re:A book about pessimism (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109717)

"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.

Re:A book about pessimism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21109007)

You are a realist, the one left out of discussions of the more dysfunctional (when carried to extremes) optimists and pessimists. The good attributes described for a pessimist really belong to a realist, the extreme pessimist believes there is nothing they can do to prevent something from happening and the extreme optimist believes that nothing will go wrong as long as you don't succumb to pessimism. An optimist would have labeled the engineer of lore and laws Murphy as a pessimist, but in reality he was a realist. A true pessimist would never make it as an engineer cause he would not believe he could solve a problem. Stated from the extreme views of course, in a realistic world pessimism and optimism are part of the flow variations of reality.

*hangs a target for the philosopher sportsmen

Re:A book about pessimism (1)

n3r0.m4dski11z (447312) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109035)

"the really bad stuff that can happen is pretty uncommon"

Interesting. As a pessimist, I see things that would require a "go bag" as not worth planning for. If things ever got that bad you would have to reanalyze your options and odds are you would have made bad guesses (who needs money if society collapses?). Its much more common for not so bad stuff to happen, but that stuff is still very stressful. Could be something as simple as planning a party. You cant just assume that everyone will come, people will all get along, your neighbours wont complain etc. You need to come up with many plans so that, say, the two people you least wanted to come are your only guests, then you can still have fun. When it all goes correctly, you are seeing a few moves ahead of every one else in multiple directions and can react accordingly. I wouldnt consider the route I take in the morning "contingincy planning" you just pick the fastest route possible.

Pessimism is more like constantly building sentances in your head on the off chance that someone says the right combination of triggers, and you can make a funny comment.

Re:A book about pessimism (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109115)

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.

Re:A book about pessimism (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109405)

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 workin' on finding a balance. I don't want to ignore the possibility of failure to the point I can't handle it if it happens, but I tend to let that possibility keep me from things or alter my ability to accomplish tasks I set out on. Like you mentioned, trying to gauge probabilities has actually helped me start to find a balance.

Life is hard work some times, but the benefits are typically worth it.

Re:A book about pessimism (4, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:A book about pessimism (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108877)

... 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.)

I blame George W. Bush (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21108973)

As a Democrat and loyal Slashdot user, I blame the Jew puppet Bu$Hitler Chimpy McHaliburtin

Instead he blows the heads off children in Iraq for his amusement.
Oh well, every dead soldier is one less Republican vote and one more victory for us Democrats

Re:A book about pessimism (2, Insightful)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109041)

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 optimists and pessimists regardless of how much it was worried over... and both optimism and pessimism can be self fulfilling.

Re:A book about pessimism (1)

ksheff (2406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109089)

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).

So that's why I don't have a girlfriend and will probably never get laid in the future. I'm thinking about all the different things I could say to the woman to get her interested in me and her responses to them. By the time I make my move, she's gone (probably giving some optimist the time of his life). I need a captive audience that will stick around until I'm finished going through all the scenarios.

Re:A book about pessimism (1)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109429)

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 take a purely logical approach and ignore your emotions, because they will catch up with you.

This book genuinely scares me, because it has the potential to lead someone to a very miserable place. Please approach it with caution!

Damn (3, Funny)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108551)

Mine's missing.

so what does this mean? (2, Funny)

wcb4 (75520) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:so what does this mean? (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108867)

Do you really think that'll help? I don't.

It's so hopeless!

Re:so what does this mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21109765)

He hasn't had his brain fixed yet.

Artificial optimism? (2, Interesting)

Camael (1048726) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108583)

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.

Re:Artificial optimism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21108641)

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

Re:Artificial optimism? (2, Interesting)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108941)

Felix Felicis [wikipedia.org]

Re:Artificial optimism? (1)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109611)

Think of the potential for abuse!

Come on Timmy, you know you can jump off that building and survive.

No... I can't. duh... *zap*

...

Splat.

Would that be murder by optimism?

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? (3, Interesting)

Siridar (85255) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108617)

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.

Re:Depression? (1)

hrvatska (790627) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108977)

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:Depression? (2, Insightful)

Siridar (85255) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109029)

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...

Re:Depression? (1)

n3r0.m4dski11z (447312) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109091)

"convincing folks that they /can/ pull themselves out of the hole they're in"
What makes you think that there is anything outside the hole?

Re:Depression? (1)

Siridar (85255) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109111)

Optimism, of course! :)

Re:Depression? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21109563)

"stab in the dark here"

At least you didn't cast magic missile at it

Overachieving summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21108677)

TFA tells almost nothing - a region in brain seems to light up when people think up optimistic thoughts, and seems to overlap with that of pessimistic thoughts. Why? Don't know. Are they the only regions? Don't know. How big was the sample? A few people. What does it mean? Who the hell knows?!

Cute summary, though, got me to post a comment. Supermodel always sells.

Stripped Amygdala (1)

Muffinmasher (1147183) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108683)

We now know that being a psychic entails being extremely pessimistic. Or maybe Murphy's law is more true than anyone realized.

Interesting question raised by the summary (4, Interesting)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:Interesting question raised by the summary (1)

Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109177)

There is already more than one drug that is very effective at curing/treating depression. The DEA makes sure they aren't available despite the toll that depression inflicts on millions of sufferers.

For example Amineptine which not only causes release of dopamine but is also a dopamine re-uptake blocker. It is effective, fast acting, doesn't impair cognitive function, may improve sleep and unlike many anti-depressants doesn't reduce libido. However it can increase libido in women, cause spontaneous orgasms in women and generally makes one feel good. We mustn't have that. DEA pressure led to its withdrawal in Europe, Britain and the US.

Or opium which was apparently a traditional, and quite effective, remedy for dysthymia.

Re:Interesting question raised by the summary (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109519)

However it can increase libido in women, cause spontaneous orgasms in women and generally makes one feel good. We mustn't have that. DEA pressure led to its withdrawal in Europe, Britain and the US.
Of course they banned it! With that stuff on the market your average citizen might develop a happy sex life!

Re:Interesting question raised by the summary (2, Funny)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109179)

Or maybe even get you that date with Gisele.

Or get you really excited about political candidate X when you go to their speech.

Re:Interesting question raised by the summary (1)

TeHCrAzY (852733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109483)

I don't think its optimism in that case.

I know personally I get a hell of a lot more confident with a few drinks in me, perhaps it is just that feeling of confidence that allows you to feel, nay, *know* you can chase supermodels.

I'm optimistic that you WON'T mod me down (2, Informative)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108897)

...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.

Re:I'm optimistic that you WON'T mod me down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21109631)

...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.

i understand the other jabs, but criticizing the size of my liver? that offends me.

visible only in your boss (0, Redundant)

brewstate (1018558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108931)

Those timelines have to come from somewhere.

Amygdala? (4, Funny)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21108957)

Wasn't she the hot chick in that star wars movie?

-jcr

Gators (1)

asifyoucare (302582) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109027)

Is that the same part of the brain that makes gators 'ornery?

Re:Gators (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21109571)

Nope that was the medulla oblongatta. Not that kernel sanders ever spelled that out for me, so I could be wrong there.

Liars! (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109099)

I ain't got no brain regions, 'sponsible for nuthin!

Just look at this post!

amygdala? (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109119)

Queue the "Natalie Portman" + "Hot Grits" memes

Of course! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21109139)

I *knew* they'd find it!

Assumptions (2, Insightful)

SourGrapes (1003959) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109155)

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 pessimists, but realists, and that realism is simply inherently depressing. So are all the benefits of optimism emotional, or are there benefits to pessimism as well, in the sense that the pessimist models reality more realistically? If that's the case (and I guess it might not be), which wins out?

Re:Assumptions (3, Funny)

Rui del-Negro (531098) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109451)

Optimists believe we live in the best possible world. Pessimists fear that might be true.

Re:Assumptions (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109613)

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 people to forget relevant bits of info (like that most people in the world are also fairly good at X) to a deep-seated need to increase one's self esteem. But whatever the underlying causes, it's a widespread and consistent enough phenomenon that you have to assume it must be an overall good thing, evolutionarily, or else we'd be in trouble. Although there are probably benefits to pessimism as well, we've made it this far as a massively optimistic species, so we must be doing something right.

*Sigh* (0, Redundant)

madbawa (929673) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109197)

I've got a baaaad feelin about this one...

And what is the part responsible for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21109311)

And what is the part of the brain responsible for making people want to date Gisele Bundchen? That is one ugly chick. In fact, most top models nowdays are hideous, masculine, angular, and totally unfuckable. That's what happens when the fashion industry is run by bitter women and gay men. The saddest part is that some young girls now actually want to look like that because they think men find it attractive.

Re:And what is the part responsible for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21109685)

The women aren't particularly bitter, masculine is what they find attractive, too. And to be fair, most of Gisele's audience are women and gay men. Not just young girls are fooled by this either. Took me years to admit to myself that tall lanky, man-assed, women that the culture was telling me were the hottest were not that sexy to me.

At last! The Stiffler Area is discovered! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109417)

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.

Region of the brain that does X (4, Interesting)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#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>

pfft (4, Funny)

sh3l1 (981741) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109603)

pfft... they will never be able to find the pessimistic part of the brain.

Pardon my ignorance but... (1)

Trouvist (958280) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109633)

Who the fuck is Giselle Bundchen? Google turned up some pictures of a model, but like all other models she is extraordinarily thin. Is there anything specific that makes this model unique?

Tags work well (4, Funny)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21109647)

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.

The cake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21109789)

Giselle is a man
Giselle is a man
The cake (giselle) is a lie (man)
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