ERIC Number: ED262306
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Psychodiagnostic and Psychotherapeutic Judgments: Expectation-Based Biases in Covariation Assessment.
Alloy, Lauren B.
This paper considers three clinical judgment biases in clinical inference: (1) illusory correlation bias, the report by clinicians of a correlation between psychodiagnostic test signs and patient's symptoms which are not correlated or are correlated to a smaller degree than that reported; (2) labeling bias, the tendency of exposure to diagnositc labels to influence clinician's inferences about patients in such a way as to confirm the original label in the clinician's diagnosis; and (3) therapy outcome bias, the clinicians' belief that therapeutic techniques toward which they are favorably predisposed are more effective in remediating patients' symptoms than are alternative treatment strategies, even when research has shown that their favored strategies have no advantage over alternative therapies. Alloy and Tabachnik's theoretical model for understanding people's covariation assessments is applied to clinicians' diagnostic and therapy decisions in an attempt to formulate a covariation perspective for understanding clinical judgments. Evidence is presented which demonstrates that clinicians' judgments are influenced jointly by expectations and situational information. It is argued that often when covariation judgments go awry, they have been biased by clinicians' a priori expectations. The implications of the illusory correlation, labeling, and therapy outcome biases for clinical practice are considered, and the issues of accuracy, rationality, and utility in evaluating the impact of such biases are discussed. Possible strategies for debiasing inaccurate diagnostic and therapeutic inferences are suggested. (NRB)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (93rd, Los Angeles, CA, August 23-27, 1985).