Earlier today, I mentioned how social sciences would play out in an incipient fascist state.
Maybe some people didn’t like that.
Well, Sokal, the physicist hoaxer and bane of social science pretensions, has been at it again, demolishing a supposedly stellar paper. As Discover’s Neuroskeptic notes,
It might happen again. The target this time is the ‘critical positivity ratio’ – the idea that if your ratio of positive to negative emotions is over a certain value, 2.9013, then you will ‘flourish’; any lower and you won’t.
The ‘critical positivity ratio’ is a popular idea. Fredrickson and Losada’s 2005 paper on it has been cited a massive 964 times on Google Scholar, just for starters.
And yet – that paper is complete rubbish. As are Losada’s previous papers on the issue. I criticize a lot of papers mysef, but this one really takes the biscuit. It’s an open and shut case.
As Brown et al write, the idea of a single ‘critical ratio’ that determines success or failure everywhere and for everyone is absurd in itself:
Of course it is. What’s wrong with the whole edifice of social psychology is that it is an art trying to be a science, and no good comes of that.
It’s too bad, really, There have been good studies in social psychology, but all treated the subject as an art, the art of explaining human behaviour in a credible way.
Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose