Coyne et al. are kinda pissed about Authentic Happiness

In the following passage, Coyne et al. (2010) repeatedly cite Authentic Happiness, by positive psychology co-founder and past APA president Martin Seligman, as an example of what they’re saying is wrong with positive psychology:

Critical discussions of the potential contributions of a positive psychology have been hampered by the sloganeering of the leaders of the movement and their labeling of the alternative as a “negative psychology”…

The ridiculing of pessimists as losers in positive psycholgy self-help books, money back guarantees on websites offering personal coaches and self-help techniques claiming to promote happiness, and the presentation of pseudoscientific happiness regression equations [Happines = Set range + Circumstances + Factors under voluntary control] all… suggest that, while the leaders of positive psychology claim it to be science based, they feel free to deliver platonic noble lies to the unwashed masses…

…support for such victim blaming can come not only from the fringe, but from mainstream positive psychology. Anyone who doubts this need only to Google “positive psychology” and “coaching” and experiment by adding some names of proponents of mainstream positive psychology. They will soon be brought to websites with claims that retaining a personal coach or engaging in web-based exercises for a substantial fee is guaranteed to instill happines that lasts and that happiness is related to health. More efficiently, the skeptical reader can reach websites with similar claims by simply joining the American Psychological Association listserv Friends of Positive Psychology… and by double clicking on the web links provided in the signatures of posters there.

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