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Event valence and unrealistic optimism
journal contributionposted on 2003-01-01, 00:00 authored by Ron Gold, K Martyn
The effect of event valence on unrealistic optimism was studied. 94 Deakin University students rated the comparative likelihood that they would experience either a controllable or an uncontrollable health-related event. Valence was manipulated to be positive (outcome was desirable) or negative (outcome was undesirable) by varying the way a given event was framed. Particiapants either were told the conditions which promote the event and rated the comparative likelihood they would experience it or were told the conditions which prevent the event and rated the comparative likelihood they would avoid it. For both the controllable and the uncontrollable events, unrealistic optimism was greater for negative than positive valence. It is suggested that a combination of the 'motivational account' of unrealistic optimism and prospect theory provides a good explanation of the results.