Always look on the bright side of life

According to Oxford University researchers, training teenagers to interpret social situations in a positive light may help those with anxiety and prevent problems from persisting into adulthood.

In the study, 36 healthy teenagers were randomly assigned for training designed to boost either positive or negative views of everyday events. The training involved working through short scenarios that could generate varied emotional responses. Using an approach called ‘cognitive bias modification of interpretations’ the participants were prompted to give answers that resolved the situation in either a positive or a negative way. After the training, researchers assessed participants’ responses to further ambiguous scenarios. 

Those who received ‘positive training’ tended to endorse positive readings of the ambiguous scenarios, while those who received ‘negative training’ were more likely to take a negative view.