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Does Positive Psychology Really Work?

A Myth Buster Reveals the Truth Behind Martin Seligman's Happiness Movement

Barbara Ehrenreich

By Barbara Ehrenreich - The central claim of positive psychology, as of positive thinking generally, is that happiness is not only desirable in and of itself but actually useful, leading to better health and greater success. But is this actually the case, or is positive psychology nothing more than pop science?

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Positive Psychology: Does It Really Work?

Taking a Critical Look at Martin Seligman's Pursuit of Happiness

Barbara Ehrenreich

Happy or positive people seem to be more successful at work. They're more likely to get a second interview while job hunting, get positive evaluations from superiors, resist burnout, and advance up the career ladder. There are scores of studies showing that happy or optimistic people are likely to be healthier than those who are sour-tempered and pessimistic. But most of these studies---the basis of positive psychology---only establish correlations and tell us nothing about causality: Are people healthy because they're happy or happy because they're healthy?

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