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Are We Born Optimistic? Or Is It a Coping Skill We Learn as Adults? | Lori Markson

As a developmental psychologist who studies cognition in children we were really excited
to be able to focus on a particular aspect of a cognitive bias, which is the development
of optimism in children.
我们经常研究认知机制 研究孩子们如何利用这些去
So we’re often studying cognitive mechanisms and how children are using these to reason
感知他们周边世界的方方面面 包括他人的想法
about various aspects of the world around them, including other people’s thoughts
and preferences.
And we also are looking at how children are choosing to learn from other people as well.
So I’m going to talk about two lines of research.
第一个是我经常说的 关注于孩子自身的乐观主义发展
One—which I’ll mostly talk about—is looking at the development of optimism in children,
我们非常感激Hope and Optimism Initiative的资金支持
which we were really grateful to the Hope and Optimism Initiative to fund, so that we
could do that.
第二个方面是除关注于儿童以外 我们对这个社会有什么看法
And another line is looking at, outside of children, how we’re thinking about society
and how children’s own optimism might also apply to groups and society as well.
为了方便操作 演示我们如何进行乐观主义研究
So for the purposes of operationalizing how we were going to go about studying optimism
从何入手关注儿童的乐观主义 我们采用了一个工作性定义
and where to start looking at this in children, we took a working definition that’s come
这个定义来自于Tali Sharot 等会他会在这里与大家讲解 与在这个领域工作的其他人一样
from Tali Sharot, who’s going to speak here later, as well as others working in this field,
thinking about optimism as a cognitive bias.
这个偏差高估积极结果的可能性 同时也
And this is a bias to overestimate the likelihood of positive outcomes and to underestimate
the likelihood of negative outcomes.
在成人这方面已经有了大量研究 Mike 已经说过
And there’s been a lot of work on this with adults which Mike already talked about, and
等下Tali会细说 我就不在这里讲太多细节了 不出意外的话
Tali is going to speak about it and I’m not going to go into detail on it, but typically,
roughly we see 80 percent of the adult population is optimistic.
So what about kids?
我意思是 孩子们的乐观和成年人是一样的吗
I mean are kids optimistic in the same way as adults?
Do we see this optimism bias?
从目前我们所了解的数据看 孩子们非常积极的
Now what we have seen in the data that we know to date is that kids are very positive.
他们看起来对自己很积极 积极地阐述自身的期待
They seem to be very positive about themselves, and interpret expectations for themselves
very positively, especially up to about six years of age or so.
如果你让孩子们评估他们自身 他们会
But if you ask children, and you ask them to evaluate themselves, they tend to do this
really positively.
这里有一个例子 一群孩子在跑道上 有一个女孩说
So here’s an example of watching a bunch of kids in a race, and one girl has pointed
她跑得不快 而另一个女孩说她跑得快
out that she can’t run very fast, and another girl over there has pointed out she can run fast.
有个小孩就问 “你更喜欢哪个女孩”
And a child is simply asked, “Which girl are you more like?”
好了 这就是我们通过简单问题 从小孩身上得到的数据
Okay, this is the way we can ask simple questions and get data out of kids.
And here’s a six-year-old girl’s typical answer, it would be something like: “Her.
“那个 我更喜欢那个跑得快的女孩”
I’m more like the fast girl.”
小孩们会不同程度地评估这些 但大抵倾向于乐观的一方
And kids will evaluate these on different scales but they tend toward optimism
被选择的人也许是乐观的 或者至少表达是乐观的
now you might were positive at least having positive interpretations
你可以用学术角度来看待这个事情 或许会更容易去评估
You can also look at this in an academic realm and something that can be evaluated much more
easily, because you can ask for an adult evaluation of the situation.
还是以6岁左右的小孩为例 你问他们
So here’s a child, again up to roughly six or so years of age, you ask them, “How do
you do in school?”
他们会说 我挺好的
And they say, “I’m really good.
我得了很多A 还得了很多星星
I get mostly As and I get lots of stars on my papers.”
但如果你问他老师 回答就不一样 也就是个中等生吧
But if you ask the teacher they have a different answer: “About a B student.
Sometimes gets a star.”
你看 人在小时候的评估是积极的 但随后就
And what you see is this initial escalationin being positive, and then this starts to
become more realistic.
The child’s own view of themselves comes more in line with reality.
So we were asking the question: are children optimists or realists?
Because all of the previous work didn’t really look at optimism.
It looked only at positivity about self.
把这些东西应用于现实中 应用到不同的期待中去
How about applying these kinds of things to different likelihoods of expectations out
there in the real world?
你也许会怀疑 小孩能做这个?
Now you might wonder, can kids even do that?
What about if kids can’t do the math?
你不能给他们一些复杂的数学题 类似“千分之八”或者
You can’t give them these complicated math problems like, “eight out of 1000” or
“27人中有3个可能会……”这种问题 你知道的 对于这类问题
“three out of 27 people are likely to get…” you know, whatever these things are, and expect
them to weigh that in.
但实际上 幼儿们在周岁的时候就善于
But, in fact, babies already by the end of the first year of life are really good at
处理脑海里的这些数据 评估概率的可能性
doing these kinds of mental statistics and evaluating likelihood of probabilities.
这还有一个例子 实际上例子很多
Here’s one example but there are many, many that I could play for you.
这例子来自于我Berkeley的同事Fei Xu 他关注幼儿的概率推理能力
This comes from my colleague Fei Xu at Berkeley who looks at probabilistic reasoning in babies.
这有个测试 不管孩子看到了什么颜色的彩球
And here is a test that was just looking at whether babies have any expectation about
what sample should come out of whatever the sample they’re presented with is, and whether
they show surprise or not, given what that is.
如果你给他们看一盒彩球 彩球有三种颜色
So if you show them a box full of balls—in this case there are three different colors
每种颜色都约占三分之一 然后你随意选择一个彩球
of balls and there’s about a third of each color—and you choose a random sample, you
作为成人的你会预计 每种彩球被选中的几率都是三分之一
would predict, as an adult, that roughly one-third of the time you should get each ball color.
That’s not the sample that came out in this case.
And so what you can do is see whether babies are surprised that that sample was withdrawn
from there or whether they just don’t pay any attention, notice any difference to whether
the expected sample has come out.
实际上 他们挺惊讶的 当取出来的彩球
And, in fact, what they do is, they’re pretty surprised when the sample doesn’t match
the population from which it was drawn.
我们目前收集了158个孩子的数据 这些数据来自于广泛的样本
And we have collected data with 158 kids so far from a very wide range of sample of children
in the St. Louis area where I live.
那里有不同种族和信仰背景的孩子 家庭条件也不尽相同
These are kids of different racial and ethnic backgrounds coming from different economic populations.
最后 我想告诉你们的是 孩子们是如何
So one last task, I want to tell you about for this set is looking at how children view
people who are optimistic versus pessimistic.
孩子们更喜欢选择乐观的人 这不仅仅是乐观主义的表像
Kids are much more likely to choose the optimistic person, not just the optimistic outcome.
They wanted to be friends with the person that had the positive response, and this often
在做更精确的实验时 结果也是这样
happened even in the face of accuracy.
我们也对此很关注 孩子们更愿意向谁学习呢?
So we’re looking at this now too for learning and who they might rather learn from — an
optimistic person or a correct person?
And this is another field that’s had a lot of attention recently in developmental psychology,
实际上 儿童们学习他们觉得靠谱的人
that children really like to learn from and, in fact, like better, people who are reliable.
所以我们关注于怎样在喜欢乐观 学习乐观的同时
So we’re looking at how liking optimism and wanting to learn from someone who’s
optimistic has to reconcile with learning from somebody who is accurate and realistic
in that sense, because we do want to make proper sense of the world.
我想让你们记住的是 在小孩出生后的前几年
What I want you to take home from that though too is that children already, in the first
few years of life, do seem to have a propensity for optimistic viewing of things.
他们倾向于乐观 我们也许可以向他们学点什么
They tend to be optimistic, and we might be able to learn something by seeing that children
当他们犯了与成人同样的错误 或者出现了同样的偏差时(会怎样应对)
are making the same sort of mistakes or having the same kinds of biases as adults.
我们可以学习他们这种模式 审视一下我们自身
We might be able to learn something about the trajectory of this and get some insight
into how we as adults got the way we are.