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Saturday, December 13, 2014

If Everything Is Getting Better, Why Do We Remain So Pessimistic?

By the Cato Institute

Featuring Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology, Harvard University; with comments by Brink Lindsey, Vice President for Research, Cato Institute; and Charles Kenny, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development

Originally posted November 19, 2014

Evidence from academic institutions and international organizations shows dramatic improvements in human well-being. These improvements are especially striking in the developing world. Unfortunately, there is often a wide gap between reality and public perceptions, including that of many policymakers, scholars in unrelated fields, and intelligent lay persons. To make matters worse, the media emphasizes bad news, while ignoring many positive long-term trends. Please join us for a discussion of psychological, physiological, cultural, and other social reasons for the persistence of pessimism in the age of growing abundance.

The video and audio can be seen or downloaded here.

Editor's note: This video is important to psychologists to show cultural trends and beliefs that may be perpetrated by media hype.  This panel also highlights cognitive distortions, well being, and positive macro trends.  If you can, watch the first presenter, Dr. Steven Pinker.  If nothing else, you may feel a little better after watching the video.