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Thus, this section will first critique the fundamental problems related to PP’s strategy before turning to its conceptual and methodological problems in PP interventions (PPIs).Seligman’s (1999) “Positive Psychology Network Concept Paper” is an official blueprint for the PP movement.Has the domain been over-used for commercial interests, especially for the field of positive coaching?
PP 2.0 also takes on cultural, ethnic, and geographic variables from across the world with the aim to make it applicable to all people (Chang, Downey, Hirsch, & Lin, 2016; Wong, 2013).
Defined in simplest terms, PP 2.0 is concerned with how to bring out the best in individuals and society in spite of, and because of, the dark side of human existence through the dialectical principles of Yin and Yang.
This chapter critiques positive psychology (PP) and PP interventions (PPIs) at three levels.
First, it identifies the fundamental problems of elitism and scientism, which permeate and negatively impact PP research and applications.
Unfortunately, many of these studies cannot be replicated, and their findings often have little relevance to human needs because their measuring instruments lack construct validity (Biswas-Diener, 2015; Tavris, 2014).
Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi’s (2000) dismissive remarks about humanistic psychology are an example of arrogant scientism.
What makes it worse is not only the large scale of it, but also the marketing of pseudoscience in the name of science (Coyne, 2014).
Recently, Wong, Ivtzan, and Lomas (in press) have pointed out the ways in which scientism and the uncritical applications of PP findings to organizations are counterproductive.
It appears that, until editors are willing to submit PP papers to critical review by experts outside the PP community, there will continue to be PP publications with serious deficiencies.
Related to elitism is positive psychologists’ general tendency not to read and cite the broader literature, as Ryff (2003) has rightly criticized.