The ability to stay positive when times get tough—and, conversely, of being negative—may be hardwired in the brain, finds new research led by a Michigan State University psychologist.
The study, which appears in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, is the first to provide biological evidence validating the idea that there are, in fact, positive and negative people in the world.
"It's the first time we've been able to find a brain marker that really distinguishes negative thinkers from positive thinkers," said Jason Moser, lead investigator and assistant professor of psychology.
For the study, 71 female participants were shown graphic images and asked to put a positive spin on them while their brain activity was recorded. Participants were shown a masked man holding a knife to a woman's throat, for example, and told one potential outcome was the woman breaking free and escaping.