Clinical expertise and reasoning with uncertain categories

Brett K. Hayes, T. H J Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Expert clinical psychologists, clinical psychology graduates, and nonclinical graduate students were presented with clinical and nonclinical cases in which the diagnosis or category membership of a character was uncertain; they then made feature predictions about the character. For each case, there was a diagnosis or category that was highly probable and a less likely alternative that either did (relevant condition) or did not (neutral condition) alter predictions. For clinical cases, clinical experts and graduate clinicians gave different predictions for the relevant and neutral conditions, indicating that they had considered the uncertain nature of the diagnosis in their predictions. Although they acknowledged that the diagnosis was uncertain, nonclinical students ignored the less likely diagnostic alternatives when making predictions. For the nonclinical cases, all three groups made predictions based on only the most likely category alternative. The results showed that clinical training and/or experience promote multiple-category reasoning, but that this effect is domain specific.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1002-1007
Number of pages6
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


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