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Researchers published a study in 2016 that made the rounds of the blogosphere recently, with one writer describing the conclusion as: “Researchers say you might as well be your own therapist”. It should not come as a surprise that such a sensational description is not an accurate summary of the study. Also not reassuring: when writers rely entirely on the abstract for their analysis. Whenever reading any scientific research we should be cautious about what conclusions we draw and aware of its limitations. Therefore we should also be skeptical of any science writer who makes strong claims from single studies in...

You know something has reached peak trendiness when a Silicon Valley startup tries to sell it to you: a tech startup valued at over $250 million is trying to change the world by, apparently, getting startup founders to practice mindfulness. Dr. Joiner argues in the Washington Post that the mindfulness typically offered in Western culture is a corruption of the idea. It is presented as a means to improve seemingly any condition—eliminates depression! improves memory! cures pestilence!—harkening back to the claims of snake oil. Though research has shown that practicing mindfulness has its benefits for mental and physical health, those...

Historically, psychology has looked to improve the human condition by investigating mental health disorders and their treatments, the idea being that people would default to being happy if all their problems were resolved, but more recently positive psychology has grown as a discipline, investigating the conditions that improve mental health and happiness. Similarly, folks generally seek out counseling when there is a significant crisis threatening their way of life. But psychological research and intervention can also be used to improve how we think and act. This Psychologize column is all about exploring how we can apply advancements in psychology for practical...