A recent article in Nature Neuroscience contends that optimism is hard-wired – that we are more likely to update our knowledge with positive than negative news.
So what happens if all the news seems bad?
That certainly seems the case in conservation – virtually all we hear is about dreadful things happening and how there is worse to come.
Some believe we should just tell it how it is; that if we scare people enough they will reform their ways. That was certainly the response to a letter David Lindenmayer and I wrote to the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution (you can see the responses here and here).