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Never Saw It Coming – Cultural Challenges to Envisioning the Worst - Chicago Scholarship Online
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Never Saw It Coming: Cultural Challenges to Envisioning the Worst

Karen A. Cerulo


People—especially Americans—are by and large optimists. They're much better at imagining best-case scenarios (I could win the lottery!) than worst-case scenarios (A hurricane could destroy my neighborhood!). This is true not just of their approach to imagining the future, but of their memories as well: people are better able to describe the best moments of their lives than they are the worst. Though there are psychological reasons for this phenomenon, this book considers instead the role of society in fostering this attitude. What kinds of communities develop this pattern of thought, which do ... More

Keywords: Americans, optimists, best-case scenarios, memories, worst-case scenarios, communities, possible outcomes, bureaucracies, human traits

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2006 Print ISBN-13: 9780226100326
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226100296.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Karen A. Cerulo, author