The Pollyanna principle (also called Pollyannaism or positivity bias) is the tendency for people to remember pleasant items more accurately than unpleasant ones. Research indicates that at the subconscious level, the mind has a tendency to focus on the optimistic; while at the conscious level, it has a tendency to focus on the negative. This subconscious bias towards the positive is often described as the Pollyanna principle and is similar to the Forer effect.
Pollyanna is a 1913 novel by American author Eleanor H. Porter, considered a classic of children’s literature. The book’s success led to Porter soon writing a sequel, Pollyanna Grows Up (1915). Eleven more Pollyanna sequels, known as “Glad Books”, were later published, most of them written by Elizabeth Borton or Harriet Lummis Smith. Further sequels followed, including Pollyanna Plays the Game by Colleen L. Reece, published in 1997. Due to the book’s fame “Pollyanna” has become a byword for someone who – like the title character – has an unfailingly optimistic outlook; a subconscious bias towards the positive is often described as the Pollyanna principle.
Pollyanna has been adapted for film several times. Some of the best known are the 1920 version starring Mary Pickford and Disney’s 1960 version starring child actress Hayley Mills, who won a special Oscar for the role.
alternative form of Pollyannish
alternative form of Pollyanna
an excessively cheerful or optimistic person
“what I am saying makes me sound like some ageing Pollyanna who just wants to pretend that all is sweetness and light”