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Illusion and Well-Being: A Social Psychological Perspective on Mental Health

Illusion and Well-Being: A Social Psychological Perspective on Mental Health Many prominent theorists have argued that accurate perceptions of the self, the world, and the future are essential for mental health. Yet considerable research evidence suggests that overly positive self-evaluations, exaggerated perceptions of control or mastery, and unrealistic optimism are characteristic of normal human thought. Moreover, these illusions appear to promote other criteria of mental health, including the ability to care about others, the ability to be happy or contented, and the ability to engage in productive and creative work. These strategies may succeed, in large part, because both the social world and cognitive-processing mechanisms impose filters on incoming information that distort it in a positive direction; negative information may be isolated and represented in as unthreatening a manner as possible. These positive illusions may be especially useful when an individual receives negative feedback or is otherwise threatened and may be especially adaptive under these circumstances. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Psychological Bulletin American Psychological Association

Illusion and Well-Being: A Social Psychological Perspective on Mental Health

Psychological Bulletin , Volume 103 (2): 18 – Mar 1, 1988

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References (312)

Publisher
American Psychological Association
Copyright
Copyright © 1988 American Psychological Association
ISSN
0033-2909
eISSN
1939-1455
DOI
10.1037/0033-2909.103.2.193
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Many prominent theorists have argued that accurate perceptions of the self, the world, and the future are essential for mental health. Yet considerable research evidence suggests that overly positive self-evaluations, exaggerated perceptions of control or mastery, and unrealistic optimism are characteristic of normal human thought. Moreover, these illusions appear to promote other criteria of mental health, including the ability to care about others, the ability to be happy or contented, and the ability to engage in productive and creative work. These strategies may succeed, in large part, because both the social world and cognitive-processing mechanisms impose filters on incoming information that distort it in a positive direction; negative information may be isolated and represented in as unthreatening a manner as possible. These positive illusions may be especially useful when an individual receives negative feedback or is otherwise threatened and may be especially adaptive under these circumstances.

Journal

Psychological BulletinAmerican Psychological Association

Published: Mar 1, 1988

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