Positive Or Negative Thinking Is Hardwired In Brain

Whenever in tough times, we get the classic advice 'stay positive' but is it that easy for everyone?

Stay Positive

Whenever in tough times, we get the classic advice ‘stay positive‘ but is it that easy for everyone? No, says the team of psychologists from Michigan State University. The research says the ability to stay positive or negative, in a rough situation is hardwired in brain and it’s the first ever study of its kind proving the idea that there really are positive and negative people in the world.

The researchers showed 71 female participants the graphic images and were asked to put a positive spin on them while their brain activity was recorded. The graphics included situations that would activate ‘worry’ response in brain and the subjects were told the potential outcomes of those situations, for example – a masked man holding a knife to a woman’s throat and the outcome that woman might break free and escape.

Before the experiment the subjects were surveyed to establish who tended to think positive and who thought negative. Result proved if those participants were right and the brains of positive thinkers were much less active during the experiment than those of the negative thinkers or worriers.

According to the researchers, when worriers were asked to decrease their negative emotions, they showed a paradoxical backfiring effect in their brain, proving it’s hard for them to put a positive spin on difficult situations and their negativity will only increase when they are asked to change their negative perspective to positive, making their situation worse.

The study included only female subjects because women are more sensitive to anxiety and the previously reported sex differences could have obscured the results. So next time you advise a negative thinker to think positive, know already that it won’t work ’cause they are just born that way.

[Source: Michigan State University]



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  2. As fascinating as this is, I’m hoping this experiment is repeated a few times to see if the findings hold up. Also, I have to wonder what variables the researchers made sure to screen out to ensure that the results aren’t being skewed by outstanding mental health conditions.

  3. Negative is good as long as it is fear of losing positive things in our life. It makes us ready to protect the positive things in our life. Whereas positive is also good as long as it is about attracting more positive things into our life. I feel being negative and postive is what balances us and we should stay both positive and negative to evolve and enjoy the life.

  4. Oui, restons positif, et tolerant et ouvert , comprΓ©hension et amour, ce dont ce monde a tellement besoin, love Γ  tous

  5. Like in every case, the best is just to execpt that people don’t resemble each other. The beauty of it is that ying and yan of personalities. Negative thinkers are just as needed in the world as positive thinkers.

  6. Negative parents probably cause many of their offspring to react in negative ways thus conditioning them to a life of negativity. I am no all that convinced that raising negative parent offspring will result in negativity if they are raised by positive parents. It is the old nature vs. nurture argument and I think the truth lies somewhere in between the two extremes. Yes once you become a negative adult with negative thinking then you probably can’t change anymore but I personally don’t believe that offspring or young children are necessarily born with negative emotions.

    1. Your point is valid but scientists have yet to prove how much enviroment influences the gene expression. This research says you just can’t change the way you think as you’re born like that and I’d have to agree.

  7. I actually find it helpful to think of the worst possible scenario and then figure out some action to take that might prevent it. Perhaps a state of anxiety can stimulate someone to think and plan ahead.

    For instance if someone is worried about getting a heart attack, they can do something about it by living a healthy lifestyle. Or if someone is worried about losing their job, that might stimulate them to do some training and diversify/improve their skills, or look around for other jobs that might suit them better.

    The problem lies with too much negative thinking when people get depressed and think nothing that they do will be any use, that they will surely fail at everything. This kind of thinking needs help.

    1. Yes, you’re so right, I have been through times when I was at the peak of optimism, when nothing seemed impossible ,then I have been through tough times, while most of the times I didn’t stop being an optimist but sometimes I found myself thinking there’s no hope and those times I’d totally collapse, of course that kind of thinking did get me into a greater mess and that’s when I became myself again, full of optimism. Actually, too much positivity is dangerous too because it can give you false hope and as for anxiety preparing you to pre-plan your action, yes it does, I suffer from an anxiety disorder and I do that all the time but,again to some people I just ‘overthink’ stuffs. I guess too much of everything is bad .A person should be optimistic yet realistic and prepare to face any kind of situation without changing his positive perspective. Sorry for the essay but I think that proves all your points right. πŸ˜€ Thank you very much for sharing what you thought. πŸ™‚

    1. Me too, some people just can’t be made to think positive, I knew then that’s just the way they are and can’t be changed, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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  10. As a “negative” person, I absolutely LOVE this! I hate when people tell me to stay positive or to look on the bright side. It makes me mean and sarcatsic. Well, not that “it” makes me that way, but that’s my response to theirs. I’m happy that people are actually studying these types of brain activities because it gives a new perspective on why people are essentially the way that they are. Thank you for this!

    1. Yeah, people just don’t know about many aspects of personality we’re born with and which can’t change. Thank you for your comment. πŸ™‚

  11. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones! Positive thinking makes a huge difference, things just seem to go smoothly as if the universe is in accord!

    1. Yeah, exactly.:-D but sometimes, positive thinkers fail to understand that negative thinkers just can’t think like them. πŸ™‚

    1. Why need a reason? I tell them that all the time and if they can’t handle it, then fuck ’em πŸ™‚ who needs a reason to respond accordingly πŸ˜‰

    2. Nah, just like blue said you don’t need to explain them, they have to understand all people are different, it’s their problem if they don’t understand. πŸ™‚

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