A big thank you to SYSK listener Ani (pronounced ah-nee) over in Madrid for sending us a link to a recent Economist article on a University of Essex study that found an optimistic outlook may be genetic.
For the most part humans tend to maintain an optimism bias; an unfounded belief (at least as far as the law of averages goes) that things will pan out well for us. There are also those among us who truly excel at irrationally processing the positive and patently ignoring the negative; we commonly refer to them as optimists.
Irrationality irks scientists like nothing else can, and so, of course, they've set about trying to get to the bottom of why optimists see things the way they do. Using our friend the Wonder Machine, New York University researchers conducting a 2007 study found that the area of the brain associated with clinical depression in humans activates differently in the skulls of optimists.