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Faculty Public Lecture Series Rainy Brain Sunny Brain

by Professor Elaine Fox


Rainy Brain Sunny Brain:  From pessimist to optimist – can we really change?

Glass half full or half empty? It often seems as if the way we deal with the world – optimism or pessimism – is hardwired into our nature. But is it? New research summarized by Professor Elaine Fox in Rainy Brain Sunny Brain shows that our personality may be far more malleable and open to change than we ever thought possible.

In an entertaining talk that takes us from genes, to the brain, to the life experiences contributing to the tendencies of someone becoming an optimist or pessimist, Elaine shows how we can brighten our lives and help ourselves flourish by retraining our brains.


Speaker Profile

Elaine Fox is a Research Professor in the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford and Director of the Oxford Centre for Emotions & Affective Neuroscience (OCEAN), where she leads a program of research combining cognitive psychology, neuroimaging, and genetics. She has recently been awarded an ERC Advanced Investigator Award to support her research in why some people are resilient and others are emotionally fragile. She has published widely on the scientific aspects of fear, anxiety, optimism, and optimal mental health and her work has now been summarized for the non-specialist in the critically acclaimed popular science book: RAINY BRAIN, SUNNY BRAIN: The New Science of Optimism and Pessimism.