The Bright Side of Life. An Intergenerational Study into the Origins of Optimism (oral presentation of research plans)


Optimists have the general tendency to always look at the bright side of life. This attitude toward life seems quite beneficial, as optimists lead happier and physically and mentally healthier lives than pessimists. But where do individual differences in optimism come from? We know surprisingly little about the origins of optimism. Given the advantages optimists experience throughout their lives, it is important to investigate the extent to which optimism is transmitted from parents to offspring and through which mechanisms. I recently received a Veni grant to investigate the intergenerational transmission of optimism. In my Veni project, I will investigate three plausible mechanisms. First, optimistic parents may rear optimistic children by teaching them adaptive coping and emotion regulation strategies that help them encounter the world with confidence and foster optimism. Second, I expect optimistic parents to generate more positive experiences for their children, which may promote child optimism. Third, parents may transmit their optimism by passing on genes that are linked to optimism. My Veni project combines genome-wide data on parent and offspring genetic variations, longitudinal survey data collected every few years, more fine-grained ecological momentary assessments, and moment-to-moment observations of parent-child interactions to generate novel insights on the importance of parents in transmitting optimism to their children and the mechanisms that facilitate this transmission.

Dec 12, 2022 9:00 AM — Dec 13, 2022 5:00 PM
10th International Meeting Of The Scientific Research Network (Leuven)