Optimistic bias (also called unrealistic optimism) refers to the tendency for people to think that they are less likely to experience negative life events and more likely to experience positive life events than similar others. For example, many people report that their chances of contracting AIDS, getting divorced, and attempting suicide in the future are smaller than those of their peers. Conversely, they also report that their chances of maintaining good health, winning professional accolades, and prospering financially in the future are better than those of their peers. Optimistic bias is a prevalent phenomenon in personal risk perceptions. As such, it has important influence on how people respond to science and technology communication, which often contains information about health, physical, and environmental risks.

Optimistic bias can ...

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