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The Negative Side of Positive Psychology

The oversimplified litany of alleged benefits of positive thinking is scientifically problematic. New research keeps whittling away at previously discussions of the benefits of positive psychology such that it is barely a shadow of its former hulking self. Carol Tavris examines the negative side of positive psychology.

eSkeptic for eSkeptic for February 17, 2016

The oversimplified litany of alleged benefits of positive thinking is scientifically problematic. New research keeps whittling away at previously discussions of the benefits of positive psychology such that it is barely a shadow of its former hulking self. In this week’s eSkeptic, we present Carol Tavris’ column, “The Gadfly,” from Skeptic magazine 19.3 (2014) in which she examines the negative side of positive psychology.

INSIGHT
I Don’t Know What You Mean

Daniel Loxton describes recent research "On the Reception and Detection of Pseudo-Profound Bullshit," and reflects on the communications chasm that can exist between skeptics and believers.

INSIGHT
Beware the Dystopian Visions of Celebrity Scientists

Mike McRae considers artificial intelligence, and critiques physicist Stephen Hawking’s opinions on the topic as “expert creep”—the phenomenon of scientists celebrated within one discipline choosing to make public statements on matters outside of their field of experience.

eSkeptic for 14-10-29

Horror is both the human emotion, and the artistic genre designed to produce that emotion. What is it really, and why do we regularly seek out such an unpleasant experience? In this week’s Halloween edition of eSkeptic, Stephen T. Asma discusses “horror” and our fascination with it.

INSIGHT
Misplaced Objects: How We Hide Things from Ourselves

Ani Aharonian wonders where the heck her passport might have gone—and reflects on the psychology of misplacing objects as a result of intentional placement.

Past Lecture
The Myth of Mirror Neurons

In this myth-busting talk based on his new book, U.C. Irvine cognitive scientist Dr. Gregory Hickok calls for an essential reconsideration of one of the most far-reaching theories in modern neuroscience and psychology. Ever since the discovery of mirror neurons in macaque monkeys in 1992 there has been a stream of scientific studies implicating mirror neurons in everything from schizophrenia and drug abuse to sexual orientation and contagious yawning. Drawing on a broad range of observations from work on animal behavior, modern neuroimaging, neurological disorders, and more, Dr. Hickok argues that the foundational assumptions fall flat in light of the facts.

eSkeptic for 14-05-21

In this week’s eSkeptic, we present an article from Skeptic magazine issue 7.4 (1999) in which three psychologists examine in detail the most recent scientific evidence (at the time) regarding the efficacy of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. The authors consider strategies employed by EMDR’s proponents to deal with negative findings, and note historical parallels between EMDR and other controversial treatments. This scientific and historical analysis of EMDR may help shed light on a variety of other potentially pseudoscientific practices in the field of clinical psychology. In this respect, EMDR serves as a useful object lesson in the study of pseudoscience.

eSkeptic for 12-08-29

In this week’s eSkeptic we present the complete version of Michael Shermer’s article, originally published in Scientific American, that attempts to answer this question using game theory and behavioral economics and psychology.

eSkeptic for 10-06-16

In this week’s eSkeptic, we present Daniel Greenburg’s article from the archives of Skeptic magazine Volume 11, Number 3 in which he discusses how psychological research shows that our most powerful memories may be untrustworthy.

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FREE Video Series

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

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