In the latest of our findings, it seems that the overwhelming majority of teenagers are looking forward to Christmas with a real sense of optimism. But, rather than being a product of our upbringing, is having an optimistic outlook a genetic predisposition?
Writing in the acclaimed research periodical, Proceedings of the Royal Society, psychologists claim to have identified an optimism gene.
"We've shown for the first time that a genetic variation is linked with a tendency to look on the bright side of life," says Elaine Fox of the University of Essex. "This is a key mechanism underlying resilience to general life stress."
This kind of research worries me. And depresses me. And fills me with pessimism.
Because, if it's all genetically predetermined, then how can we change? Or, to put it another way, what's the point in trying? Or, to put it another way, rather than being the conclusion of a reasoned argument, drawing upon my experience and understanding of the world, am I actually genetically obliged to reject this research and write this post?
In another study by scientists - this time from the Max Planck (love that name) Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, research indicates that making a decision may be a process handled to a large extent by unconscious mental activity. Even several seconds before we consciously make a decision its outcome can be predicted from unconscious activity in the brain.
Oh joy. My consciousness, that complex, beautiful sum of all knowledge and experience has nothing to do with the decision to be happy or optimistic - my brain has already done it for me.
So, when I say Merry Christmas, it's not because of the mince pies, or the fine wine, or seeing my daughter's face when she opens her gifts or watching The Teens' Speech on MySpace (you see what I did there). Its all down to my deoxyribonucleic acid.
It reminds me of that moment in The Phantom Menace, when The Force stopped being something that any of us could commune with and instead was dependent on stuff completely out of our control, some weird symbiotic organism called Midichlorians.
Talk about taking the fun out of everything.