Unrealistic optimism and perceived control: Role of personal competence

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    This work analyzed the effects of unrealistic optimism in the interaction between the emotional valence of future events, the perception of control over these events, and the person with whom one compares oneself. It was hypothesized that, if the person of comparison is judged as very competent, a pessimistic bias should be produced. Likelihood of four different types of events (positive and controllable, positive and uncontrollable, negative and controllable, and negative and uncontrollable) were rated by 133 university students (22 men and 111 women) for themselves, for an average student, for their best friend, and for a bright friend. A pessimistic bias was observed on the relative likelihood of the events when the comparison was made between oneself and a competent and bright friend, when events were perceived as controllable, especially positive ones. Not enough is known, however, to provide meaningful interpretation at present; that must await further data and theoretical development.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)431-435
    JournalPsychological Reports
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002


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