Mind the Brain

Creating TED talks from peer-reviewed growth mindset research papers with colored brain pictures

The TED talk fallacy – When you confuse what presenters say about a peer-reviewed article – the breathtaking, ‘breakthrough’ strength of findings demanded for a TED talk – with what a transparent, straightforward analysis and reporting of relevant findings would reveal. 

Creating illusions of wondrous effects of yoga and meditation on health: A skeptic exposes tricks

The tour of the sausage factory is starting, here’s your brochure telling you’ll see.   A recent review has received a lot of attention with it being used for claims that mind-body interventions have distinct molecular signatures that point to potentially dramatic health benefits for those who take up these practices. What Is the Molecular … Continue reading "Creating illusions of wondrous effects of yoga and meditation on health: A skeptic exposes tricks"

Calling out pseudoscience, radically changing the conversation about Amy Cuddy’s power posing paper

Part 1: Reviewed as the clinical trial that it is, the power posing paper should never have been published. Has too much already been written about Amy Cuddy’s power pose paper? The conversation should not be stopped until its focus shifts and we change our ways of talking about psychological science. The dominant narrative is … Continue reading "Calling out pseudoscience, radically changing the conversation about Amy Cuddy’s power posing paper"

Jane Brody promoting the pseudoscience of Barbara Fredrickson in the New York Times

Journalists’ coverage of positive psychology and health is often shabby, even in prestigious outlets like The New York Times. Jane Brody’s latest installment of the benefits of being positive on health relied heavily on the work of Barbara Fredrickson that my colleagues and I have thoroughly debunked. All of us need to recognize that research … Continue reading "Jane Brody promoting the pseudoscience of Barbara Fredrickson in the New York Times"

Unmasking Jane Brody’s “A Positive Outlook May Be Good for Your Health” in The New York Times

A recipe for coercing ill people with positive psychology pseudoscience in the New York Times Judging by the play she gets in social media and the 100s of comments on her articles in the New York Times, Jane Brody has a successful recipe for using positive psychology pseudoscience to bolster down-home advice you might’ve gotten … Continue reading "Unmasking Jane Brody’s “A Positive Outlook May Be Good for Your Health” in The New York Times"

Unintended consequences of universal mindfulness training for schoolchildren?

This is the first installment of what will be a series of occasional posts about the UK Mindfulness All Party Parliamentary Group report,  Mindful Nation. Mindful Nation is seriously deficient as a document supposedly arguing for policy based on evidence. The professional and financial interests of lots of people involved in preparation of the document … Continue reading "Unintended consequences of universal mindfulness training for schoolchildren?"

Promoting a positive psychology self-help book with a Wikipedia entry

This edition of Mind the Brain continues an odd and fascinating story of an aggressive promotion of a positive psychology self-help book. In this chapter, I tell how the promotion is being aided by the author’s son creating a laudatory Wikipedia entry.  The story can simply be appreciated as amusing. Or it can be used … Continue reading "Promoting a positive psychology self-help book with a Wikipedia entry"

Do positive fantasies prevent dieters from losing weight?

Want to WOOP yourself into amazing shape, and fulfill your wildest dreams? Then get a self-help book telling you how through the Association for Psychological Science or the British Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology…Well not really, save your money. In this issue of Mind the Brain, I discuss my tracking back into the scientific … Continue reading "Do positive fantasies prevent dieters from losing weight?"

More sciencey than the rest? The competitive edge of positive psychology coaching

Is positive psychology coaching better than what its competitors offer? Is positive psychology coaching the science-oriented brand or does it just look sciency? How do we judge? In Mind the Brain, we have been showing that critical appraisal tools like risk of bias assessment for studies evaluating interventions and a vigilance for signs of confirmatory … Continue reading "More sciencey than the rest? The competitive edge of positive psychology coaching"

Lucrative pseudoscience at the International Positive Psychology Association meeting

A plenary session dripping with crank science may be an outlier, but it’s on a continuum with the claims of mainstream positive psychology.  Follow the conference attendees following the money, does it take you to science? Imagine… Imagine a PhD student going to her first positive psychology conference, drawn by the opportunity to hear research … Continue reading "Lucrative pseudoscience at the International Positive Psychology Association meeting"

Will following positive psychology advice make you happier and healthier?

Smile or Die – the European retitling of Barbara Ehrenreich’s realist, anti-positive-psychology book Bright Sided:How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America – captures the threat of some positive psychology marketers’ advice: if you do not buy what we sell, you will face serious consequences to your health. Barbara Fredrickson, along with co-authors including Steven Cole, make … Continue reading "Will following positive psychology advice make you happier and healthier?"

Failing grade for highly cited meta-analysis of positive psychology interventions

The many sins of Sin and  Lyubomirsky I recently blogged about Linda Bolier and colleagues’  meta-analysis of positive psychology interventions [PPIs] in BMC Public Health. It is the new kid on the block. Sin and Lyubomirsky’s  meta analysis is accepted as the authoritative summary of the evidence and has been formally identified by Web of … Continue reading "Failing grade for highly cited meta-analysis of positive psychology interventions"