Lyubomirsky, who was also besieged by autograph seekers at the meeting, says it felt a little "cultlike." "But just because people are interested in what we do does not mean we're not as rigorous as scientists," she says.
To the untrained eye, though, the line between the lab scientist and the layman can seem fuzzy. Like many positive psychologists (see box, below), Lyubomirsky recently published a book for general readers. Hers is called The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want—at least, that was the original title; on the paperback edition the publishers replaced the word "scientific" with the word "new" to attract a broader audience. Lyubomirsky herself freely describes it as a "self-help book."