Fredrickson-Losada “positivity ratio” paper partially withdrawn

am psychIn 2005, Barbara Fredrickson and Marcial Losada published a paper in American Psychologist making a bold and specific claim:

…the authors predict that a ratio of positive to negative affect at or above 2.9 will characterize individuals in flourishing mental health.

The paper made quite a splash. It has been cited 360 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, and formed the basis of a 2009 book by Fredrickson, Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the 3 to 1 Ratio That Will Change Your Life.

But something didn’t sit right with Nick Brown, a psychology grad student at the University of East London. He found the paper’s claims wanting, and contacted Alan Sokal — yes, that Alan Sokal, who published a fake paper in Social Text in 1996. Sokal agreed, and he, Brown, and Harris Friedman published a critique of the paper in July of this year in American Psychologist. Its abstract: Continue reading Fredrickson-Losada “positivity ratio” paper partially withdrawn