New Content From Perspectives on Psychological Science

Where Life Coaching Ends and Therapy Begins: Toward a Less Confusing Treatment Landscape
Elias Aboujaoude

The distinction between “life coaching” and psychotherapy is increasingly blurry, raising the possibility of confusion between the two among vulnerable patients, Aboujaoude proposes. He warns against the risks of patients mistaking life coaching for psychotherapy, especially because life coaching does not require education, training, licensing, or supervision for coaches, and because there are no specific legal protections for harmed clients. The author acknowledges that increased access to new forms of help may be positive, but patient safety must be ensured. He advocates for more research on the efficacy and safety of life-coaching practices.

The Reality of “Real-Life” Neuroscience: A Commentary on Shamay-Tsoory and Mendelsohn (2019)
Gijs A. Holleman, Ignace T. C. Hooge, Chantal Kemner, and Roy S. Hessels

In this commentary, Holleman and colleagues attempt to clarify the use of the terms “ecological validity” and “representative design.” They argue that Shamay-Tsoory and Mendelsohn (2019) used these terms in a manner different than that originally introduced by Brunswik (1955). Holleman and colleagues explain Brunswick’s original ideas about ecological validity and representative design, which are not necessarily the same. They emphasize that this clarification and the specificity of ecological validity is important because of its contribution to Shamay-Tsoory and Mendelsohn’s ecological approach to understanding human behavior and the brain.

The Negative Implications of Being Tolerated: Tolerance From the Target’s Perspective
Maykel Verkuyten, Kumar Yogeeswaran, and Levi Adelman

What are the psychological consequences of being tolerated instead of discriminated? Verkuyten and colleagues provide an overview of these potential consequences for minority members. They argue that being “merely” tolerated leads to social identity threats that may compromise individuals’ psychological needs, such as belonging, esteem, control, and certainty. Threatening these psychological needs influences personal outcomes (e.g., poorer well-being and identity management), interpersonal outcomes (e.g., social costs and withdrawal), and intergroup outcomes (e.g., dismissal of injustices and less engagement in collective action).

Ironic Effects of Thought Suppression: A Meta-Analysis
Deming (Adam) Wang, Martin S. Hagger, and Nikos L. D. Chatzisarantis

After individuals try to rid their minds of a thought, that thought tends to become more frequent and accessible, ironically, than it does for individuals who deliberately concentrate on the thought. Wang and colleagues present a meta-analysis of 31 studies that tested whether cognitive load (e.g., simultaneously doing other tasks that require cognitive resources) during thought suppression influences ironic effects during and after the suppression. They found that cognitive load impairs one’s capacity for thought suppression. Ironic effects occur during thought suppression in the presence of cognitive load, and ironic effects occur after thought suppression regardless of cognitive load.

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