The Science of Optimism February 20, 2013

“The Science of Optimism” is an ongoing blog series focused on the bright side of dating in 2013. The series will feature posts by Dr. Helen Fisher, biological anthropologist and scientific advisor for

By Dr. Helen Fisher

Would you call yourself more optimistic than most people? singles in cities like Hoboken, NJ, Redondo Beach, CA, and Santa Fe, New Mexico answered “yes” through our personality test, and I can definitely see why these singles are looking on the bright side! These men and women have several traits in common: they are confident that their way of doing things will work out; they have a plan for where they want to be in five years; they never enter any competition expecting to lose; and when they do lose, they focus on how they can do better next time.

Here is the full list of The Most Optimistic Singles in America

  1. Hoboken, NJ
  2. Redondo Beach, CA
  3. Santa Fe, NM
  4. Naperville, IL
  5. Boca Raton, FL
  6. Newport Beach, CA
  7. Mountain View, CA
  8. Waukesha, WI
  9. Scottsdale, AZ
  10. Irvine, CA

You can also check out our graphic here!

So why are singles in these cities so optimistic? They undoubtedly have some common past experiences, but I suspect they also share some basic brain chemistry. Every member of takes this same personality test, a questionnaire that measures the constellation of traits linked with four basic brain systems: dopamine, serotonin, testosterone and estrogen. The dopamine system is linked with a sunny personality. And, as I expected, those living in most of these 10 cities are Explorers, men and women highly expressive of the traits linked with dopamine.  Explorers are natural optimists.

However, these cities are also packed with men and women who are highly expressive to the traits linked with estrogen, a brain system not associated with optimism. Estrogen rich men and women (whom I call Negotiators) tend to see the big picture; they are intuitive, imaginative and mentally flexible; they have superb people skills; and they are emotionally expressive. Could it be that Negotiators, who also tend to think long-term, see the many sides of any issue, and are more accepting of ethnic, religious and intellectual diversity, are also more optimistic? Apparently so.

Optimistic singles can live by many credos—among them, to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind; to talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet; to make all your friends feel that there is something in them; and to look at the sunny side of everything. These precepts are good for your health.

But optimism can also be precarious. Optimists see life through rose-colored glasses, what psychologists call the “pink-lens effect.” This can lead to self-delusion. So be optimistic, with caution. Expect positive outcomes; then work to reach these goals. You will “self-correct” if you optimism becomes unrealistic. And as you adjust your focus on more attainable objectives, you will rejuvenate your optimism.

You’ll get other perks, too.  Friends, relatives, lovers and colleagues all flock to a sunny personality.

Find out your own personality by taking the Personality Test for free today!


2 responses to “The Science of Optimism”

  1. […] published her findings on the blog post “The Science of Optimism,” as part of a series of finding that focuses “on the bright side of dating in […]

  2. […] To figure out what city had the most optimistic singles in the nation, the survey asked the very simple question “would you call yourself more optimistic than most people?” to around 10 million users.  Dr. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist and advisor, broke down the results on her blog The Science of Optimism. […]