In the paper, the trio critique an application of what psychologists call the "positivity ratio" -- the ratio of a person's positive feelings to his/her negative feelings. In 2005, two psychologists wrote that people "flourish" if the ratio meets or exceeds 2.9 -- that is, if positive emotions occur at least three times as often as negative ones. A pretty intuitive concept in the abstract sense, but one Sokal and his co-authors say cannot be described by the equations the psychologists borrowed from physics.

"We find no theoretical or empirical justification for the use of differential equations drawn from fluid dynamics, a subfield of physics, to describe changes in human emotions over time," the trio wrote in their article. "Furthermore, we demonstrate that the purported application of these equations contains numerous fundamental conceptual and mathematical errors."

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The trio's article, "The Complex Dynamics of Wishful Thinking: The Critical Positivity Ratio," was published online July 15, 2013 inAmerican Psychologist.

Somehow, this fits in perfectly with an earlier comment on psychophysics babble.

Zz.

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