January 9, 2012, Updated September 11, 2012

The power of positive thinking helps female students achieve appreciably higher grades than their pessimistic friends, according to a new study at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Tamar Icekson, a doctoral student at BGU’s Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management, BGU business dean Ayala Malach-Pines, and Prof. Oren Kaplan of the School of Business Administration at Israel’s College of Management, set out to study the effect of positive emotions and thinking on behavior.

The researchers tested the attitudes and grades of 174 BGU business undergraduates aged 20 to 28.

“Our findings suggest that holding optimistic views about the future results in better academic performance for women,” Icekson told ISRAEL21c. “Therefore, an important implication of our research is that teachers, families and institutions should encourage female students to adopt ‘rose-colored glasses.’ For male students, however, too much optimism leads to overconfidence and resulting lower grades.”

The researchers presented their study at the Second World Congress on Positive Psychology.

Rather than rest on their laurels, the trio is already working on two new projects related to the results of this study. They are investigating the “role of optimism and conscientiousness on performance among managers with a focus on gender differences,” Icekson explains, and whether intervention programs “designed to improve optimism and conscientiousness can help students excel in academic settings.”


Fighting for Israel's truth

We cover what makes life in Israel so special — it's people. A non-profit organization, ISRAEL21c's team of journalists are committed to telling stories that humanize Israelis and show their positive impact on our world. You can bring these stories to life by making a donation of $6/month. 

Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director

Read more: