Optimism Wins- Psychologists’ Analysis of the Candidates

Research has shown that 80% of the time since 1900, the most optimistic candidate wins the presidential race in the USA. So it is interesting to note that researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have analyzed the current race. Researchers at the Penn Positive Psychology Center, founded my Dr. Martin E. P. Selgman, looked at a sample of speeches.

Both Barack Obama and John McCain were noted to be more optimistic than their VP choices, and Biden was the least optimistic of the 4 candidates. Obama and McCain were essentially tied in their optimism. The analysis however was dated: It was based on the convention acceptance speeches and the Saddleback forum. More recent speeches have not been analyzed formally, but it might well be that the more optimitic debator (you judge) will have a leg up, if prior research is applicable. I am grateful to Laura Freberg for drawing my attention to this study at her blog.

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Positivity always attracts positivity. It makes perfect sense. 🙂

  2. Very interesting article. It actually seems pretty true too. Being positive in your outlook for the future is a great way to motivate oneself!

  3. It doesn’t take a psychologist, although I am one, to confirm which campaign has been more positive since the convention.


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