People who view the glass as half-full really are more optimistic, survey shows

NEW YORK — People who literally view a glass as half-full rather than half-empty hold a more optimistic view of the world, are more patient, but also more competitive and assertive, according to a survey of 2,000 Americans.

On the other hand, those who saw the glass as half-empty were found to be more laid-back and generally more introverted, yet also more rebellious on average.

In all, 58% of participants felt that, after seeing an image of a glass that had an equal amount of liquid as it did air, the glass was indeed half-full. Interestingly, just 16% agree it was half-empty, while 26% couldn’t come to a decision.

Researchers also polled respondents on their lifestyle and personality traits. The survey, commissioned by Borden Dairy, showed numerous differences between those who viewed the contents of the glass differently.

People who believed the glass is half-full identified more frequently as being right-brained, extroverted, playful, and practical. They also tend to have 11 “better than average days” a month, compared to 9 such days for their more-pessimistic peers. When it comes to experiencing setbacks, half-full respondents usually have an easier time finding a silver lining.

Half-empty thinkers tended to be left-brain, and viewed themselves as more serious and sentimental than the half-full group. Not everyone who thinks the glass is half-empty considered themselves pessimists. In fact, 48% of the group actually believe they’re more optimistic than pessimistic generally.

Personal interests seemed to be more important to the half-full group, who spend about 21 hours a week on hobbies, compared to 14 hours on average for the half-empty sample. There were also differences when it came to social media: half-full folks prefer Twitter, while half-empty individuals enjoy Instagram most.

Glass half-full thinkers are also 39% more likely to consider themselves morning people, perhaps why the group also enjoyed drinking milk more than their counterparts.

“Breakfast is the top occasion for milk, and we wanted to see how taking the time to start your morning with breakfast may influence your outlook the rest of the day. It is delightful to confirm that milk drinkers are, indeed, more often glass half-full thinkers,” says Borden Chief Marketing Officer Joe DePetrillo in a statement, adding, “it’s good to remind both ‘glass half-full’ and ‘glass half-empty’ thinkers that drinking milk in the morning brings significant benefits.”

Despite all their differences, there were also many similarities. Both groups log about six hours of sleep a night, hit the snooze button just once, and enjoy a hot cup of coffee in the morning. Two-thirds of those coffee drinkers take theirs with milk.

The survey was conducted by OnePoll in May 2019.