I have yet to meet a successful scientist who lacks the ability to exaggerate the importance of what he or she is doing, and I believe that someone who lacks a delusional sense of significance will wilt in the face of repeated experiences of multiple small failures and rare successes, the fate of most researchers.
Disbelieving is hard work.
People become risk seeking when all their options are bad. [Chemotherapy at the end of life encouraged by doctors, for example.]
People dislike losing more than they like winning.
All bets are off if your lifestyle is threatened. [Why we can’t cope with climate disruption]
Humans are guided by the immediate emotional impact of gains and losses, not by long term prospects of wealth and global utility.