Antifragility or steeling effect is the concept that people improve through moderate adversity. Studies show, both too much and too little adversity results in worse psychological functioning, but moderate adversity in improvement. The term was coined by Professor Nassim Nicholas Taleb and developed in his book Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder, which refers to systems in general and theoretical terms. Antifragility is different from resiliency (i.e. the ability to recover from failure) and robustness (that is, the ability to resist failure) as these terms do not include the improvement from failure.
Hormesis[edit | edit source]
A similar concept to antifragility, known as hormesis, refers to the dose response relationship that is often observed in the ingestion of various toxic substances or the exposure of organisms to various environmental stressors. If this stimulus is in the hormetic zone, then small amounts of negative stressors can result in an improvement to health and functioning. This has been observed with alcohol consumption, exercise, fasting and long-term calorie restriction, and even exposure to low-dose ionizing radiation. This concept has been disputed in regards to certain stressors however, particularly in regards to purported beneficial effects of moderate alcohol consumption and low-dose dose radiation exposure.
Resilience and robustness[edit | edit source]
Due to matters of fragility having become heavily politicized, people are more resilient than commonly assumed. In truth, adults and children who experienced potentially traumatic events in either psychological and physical regard show resilience in the majority of outcomes.
References[edit | edit source]