Does for social science what Ben Goldacre has done for medicine and pharmaceuticals, and asks why we keep falling for ‘quick fix’ solutions to social problems.
Society is in the doldrums. The economy is shrinking, productivity is declining, happiness is withering, mental health issues are rife, politicians are useless. But there is an answer! Social psychology bustles forward with simple solutions to our ills. All we need is grit, or a little nudge, or to power-pose or lean in, some positive psychology, or a better awareness of our unconscious bias, and all shall be well.
But it is not so. These alluring and increasingly popular ideas are often less simple and more simple-minded, and quite often built on decidedly ramshackle evidence. Jesse Singal takes up his microscope and tweezers to dissect these claims, showing us how society is all too ready to embrace the scientist's ‘quick fix’ when neither politics nor collective action seems able to achieve real change.