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Mike, Bonnie, (maybe Dr. Ehrenreich as well): I hear and echo your frustrations with those who are preaching irrational positive thinking to the point of annoyance. I humbly ask that you also consider that (1) happiness is a real phenomenon with a physical basis in the brain, (2) it positively affects many peoples' lives and [for me, personally] motivation to do any non-depressive rational thinking, and that (3) some of those happy people are rational and are *really* trying to be careful not to offend anyone with their happiness or semi-selfish attempts to facilitate others to become happy and stave off depression, too. That said, and related, I'd love to have a simple boiled-down list of five things that we can use to encourage positive-psychology-enthusiasts not to make the mistakes as those pseudoscientific practitioners profiled (I think, though still waiting on my copies) in Bright-Sided. This list would go a long way in uniting the new science-backed positive affect enthusiasts and those who I suspect will be Dr. Ehrenreich's most enthusiastic audience -- those who have been disenfranchised by the happiness hijackers (self-help book authors that make up claims and don't use references, religion, cults). Happy in reality, B
Toggle Commented Oct 15, 2009 on Are Women Getting Sadder? at Barbara's Blog
Tyler, You had me in your court until you seriously stacked the law of attraction up against the current laws of physics. That said, if you were to post again with rationally thought out and research-backed reasons, I will recant this post, share your post with others, and chalk your last one up to a knee-jerk emotional response. There's no excuse to defend the positive psychology position with (anything even close to) ad-hominem attacks or what-ifs or personal example-based arguments--you have at your fingertips research you can use to back up your claims. There is a growing body of studies performed between 2005 and 2009 that show (1) correlations between positive affect and oh-so-nice things, (2) twin studies showing a decent chunk (40%) of positive affect as dependent on daily activity and malleable thought patterns and (3) simple activities that have been shown to boost long-term positive affect (would be highly correlated with what we subjectively call happiness). None of these studies suggest you need to suspend disbelief or discount physics. They only presuppose you have a scientific/epistemological regard for psychological and social psychological tools and methods. And I'm almost late for the most interesting class I've ever taken but afterwards I may pull up some papers to get you started, if you're interested, Tyler! :) Don't stop disbelievin', B
Toggle Commented Oct 15, 2009 on Are Women Getting Sadder? at Barbara's Blog
Hi Dr. Ehrenreich, Thanks for a great "caveat emptor" for readers of popular literature (blogs count too, sometimes!) which references scientific studies. The core problems, I think, are: (1) individual claims in popular literature are often not properly referenced (even at the ends of articles), (2) readers have no effective way of "calling bull" on unreferenced yet clearly stated claims (like they can on Wikipedia, for example), other than throwing a bottle into vast oceans of article comments, and (3) readers often don't use Google Scholar (or otherwise dig deep) enough to justify "knowing" some of the truths they find in reality :) My dendrites to yours, B
Toggle Commented Oct 15, 2009 on Are Women Getting Sadder? at Barbara's Blog