極端な楽天家│ ポリアンナのよかった探し


I suffer from a genetic flaw, which is that my mother was a hopeless Pollyanna. (Bill Ayers)

Balance in life is the key, as Aristotle taught us. Nobody likes a naive Pollyanna, but neither do we like to be around people who are constantly complaining and finding fault. (by Mark Skousen)


いや、Pollyanaをポリアンナと発音しないでしょう。1913年にエレナ・ポーター(Eleanor Porter)が出版した小説Pollyanna『少女パレアナ』と訳されています。この小説はヒットし2年後に続編が出ます。Pollyanna Grows Upですが、こちらの日本語タイトルは『パレアナの青春』となっています。発音的にはパレアナの方が正しいです。私には「ポリアナ」と聞こえますが。


舞台は第一次世界大戦後の西部アメリカ。パレアナは牧師の子として生まれますが、家は貧しく母と牧師の父を亡くし、大金持ちの未婚の叔母Pollyに引き取られます。当時11歳(アニメ版では9歳)。孤児となっても天然のポジティブ思考でがんばっていく姿が読者の共感を得てアメリカでベストセラーになります。パレアナで一番有名なのがthe Glad Gameです。「よかった探し」と訳されていますが、どんなことが起きても、その中から一番よかったと思えることを見つけるゲームです。

Pollyanna was an orphan who came to live with her Aunt Polly in a small Vermont town after her father died. Her father, an impoverished minister, had taught her to play the “Glad Game.” The Glad Game is a forerunner of cognitive behavior therapy and positive psychology. The Glad Game refers to an effort a person makes to find something to feel glad about even in difficult situations. It is not so much a denial of the affect as it is a method of exercising voluntary control of the content of thought in an attempt to change mood by changing thoughts. … Pollyanna said that one cannot be fixed on the negative when searching for the positive. Pollyanna also teaches that it is important to persist in trying to find the thing to feel glad about, even when it is difficult. In that emphasis, Pollyanna is showing how persistence in the use of a coping device may be a precondition for the arousal of hope.
(Murray Levine, Douglas D. Perkins, et al. Principles of Community Psychology: Perspectives and Applications, p.235)

小説ではこの天真爛漫な楽観主義は肯定的に捉えられていますが、1964年に心理学者のCharles E. Osgoodが人が持つ楽観主義的傾向をPollyanna Effectと命名し、1969年に彼とJerry BoucherとCharlesが「パレアナの仮説」という題名の論文を発表します。

Jerry Boucher and Charles E. Osgood, “The Pollyanna Hypothesis,” Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal Behavior, Vol. 8(1), 1969, pp.1-8
The Pollyanna hypothesis asserts that there is a universal human tendency to use evaluatively positive words (E+) more frequently and diversly than evaluatively negative words (E-) in communicating. From cross-cultural and developmental data, it was demonstrated that (1) across a sample of 13 language/culture communities E+ members of evaluative scales are used significantly more frequently and diversely than their E- opposites, (2) across 11 of these communities negative affixes are applied significantly more often to the E+ members of pairs (to make the E- opposite) than to the E- members (to make the E+ opposite), and (3) across age levels from 7-11 E+ members of evaluative pairs appear earlier, have higher frequencies and diversities of usage, and take the negative affix more frequently than their E- opposites. Possible biases in the data and alternatives to the Pollyanna hypothesis are considered.

その後、Pollyanna effect (ポリアンナ効果)Pollyanna principleという用語が心理学の分野で定着します。単純化すると、人は不愉快なことよりも愉快なことを覚えている傾向があることを指します。いやいや、「自分は不愉快なことをけっこう思い出すよ」という人もいるでしょうが、それは意識レベルのことであって、この傾向は潜在意識レベルで生じるそうです。ネガティブな事よりもポジティブなことについ反応してしまうpositive biasが記憶のレベルで生じるのか、情報収集や外界からの刺激(stimulus)のレベルで起きるのか、はたまた判断にバイアスが生じるのか、といった細かい議論が心理学の研究者の間でなされています。

an excessively or blindly optimistic person (dictionary.com)
a person regarded as being foolishly or blindly optimistic (thefreedictionary.com)


ただし、Pollyannaish的なポジティブ・シンキング(positive thinking)は過度でない限り、むしろ望ましいと考える心理学者も多いようです。

Betty W. Phillipsはこう述べています。ACHIEVING HAPPINESS WITH POSITIVE THINKING: Do You Really Know Pollyanna?

In my last column on this important topic I mentioned the value of positive thinking. Most people agree that they would rather be happy than unhappy, positive rather than negative. But numerous critics of positive thinking scoff at what they describe as unrealistic optimism. Often they opine about the foolishness of being like Pollyanna. This attitude has even made its way into the dictionary where the noun pollyanna is described as “an excessively or blindly optimistic person” and the adjective as “unreasonably or illogically optimistic.” In fact I used to be influenced by the argument that optimism should always be tempered by realism. What do you think? … Thinking through the lessons of this book, I realized that “realism” is subjective according to the values of the observer. In fact, it may be more realistic to understand that the ability to play the Game of the Glad is more potent in achieving happiness in your lifetime than the advantages of wealth. When mental health research finally started to investigate positive psychology, this research actually found that optimism and positive thinking are more related to long-term health and happiness than monetary fortune (at least beyond the bare necessities for survival.) For additional information you will find articles on various aspects of optimism and positive thinking in the Reading Room of my website.


Obviously we should be realistic and take the bad with the good. It is appropriate and healthy to acknowledge and experience emotions natural to a negative event. We need to face and learn from our negative experiences and feelings rather than avoid or suppress them. However, I think it is healthy and important to have an optimistic perspective. I find that focusing on the positive makes me a happier person. Just call me Pollyanna. (http://kirstenuhler.com/2009/05/20/the-pollyanna-principle/)

実は、小説や映画に出てくるPollyannaの楽天主義は少しも「盲目的」でも「過剰」に見えません。映画もPollyannaがまともすぎてあんまり面白くありません^^;。現実を全く無視した夢物語を語られるとつい、You are such a Pollyanna!と言いたくなりますが、できればPollyannaは肯定的な意味で使いたいですね。


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