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J Pers Assess. 1979 Aug;43(4):411-2.

Individual differences in Pollyannaism.

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  • 1State University of New York, Geneseo, USA.


The Pollyanna Principle states that people process pleasant information more accurately and efficiently than less pleasant information. This study examined whether different measures of Pollyanna tendencies are correlated with each other. Fourteen measures of Pollyannaism were derived for 133 students. The results showed that subjects who rated themselves as optimistic or happy also showed Pollyannaism on other measures of happiness, believed that the events in their lives were pleasant, gave themselves positive ratings on personality characteristics, recalled pleasant words more often than unpleasant words, supplied more free associations to pleasant stimuli than to unpleasant stimuli, listed pleasant items first, and judged that pleasant words were more frequent in the English language.

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