Positive psychology superstars Barbara Fredrickson and Marcial Losada had put forward a theory, seemingly with experimental confirmation, that was bolder than bold: that mankind, whether working alone or in groups, is governed by a mathematical tipping point, one specified by a ratio of 2.9013 positive to 1 negative emotions. When the tipping point is crested, a kind of positive emotional chaos ensues—“that flapping of the butterfly’s wing,” as Fredrickson puts it—resulting in human “flourishing.” When it is not met (or if a limit of 11.6346 positive emotions is exceeded, as there is a limit to positivity), everything comes grinding to a halt, or locks into stereotyped patterns like water freezing into ice. Nick Brown smelled bull.
The New Scientist writes about the attempts of scientists to induce an artificial state of being in the zone (also referred to as "flow") through electrical manipulation of the brain. As a bonus, they also include a forum link to homemade attempts to achieve the same thing. [more inside]
Why are our kids so sad? Positive psychology (previously) and our friends at Pepperidge Farm thinks its all a matter of fishful thinking. [more inside]