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From Meehl to fast and frugal heuristics (and back): New insights into how to bridge the clinical—actuarial divide

From Meehl to fast and frugal heuristics (and back): New insights into how to bridge the clinical—actuarial divide
From Meehl to fast and frugal heuristics (and back): New insights into how to bridge the clinical—actuarial divide

It is difficult to overestimate Paul Meehl's influence on judgment and decision-making research. His ‘disturbing little book’ (Meehl, 1986, p. 370) Clinical versus Statistical Prediction: A Theoretical Analysis and a Review of the Evidence (1954) is known as an attack on human judgment and a call for replacing clinicians with actuarial methods. More than 40 years later, fast and frugal heuristics—proposed as models of human judgment—were formalized, tested, and found to be surprisingly accurate, often more so than the actuarial models that Meehl advocated. We ask three questions: Do the findings of the two programs contradict each other? More generally, how are the programs conceptually connected? Is there anything they can learn from each other? After demonstrating that there need not be a contradiction, we show that both programs converge in their concern to develop (a) domain-specific models of judgment and (b) nonlinear process models that arise from the bounded nature of judgment. We then elaborate the differences between the programs and discuss how these differences can be viewed as mutually instructive: First, we show that the fast and frugal heuristic models can help bridge the clinical—actuarial divide, that is, they can be developed into actuarial methods that are both accurate and easy to implement by the unaided clinical judge. We then argue that Meehl's insistence on improving judgment makes clear the importance of examining the degree to which heuristics are used in the clinical domain and how acceptable they would be as actuarial tools.

actuarial models, clinical judgment, decision making, fast and frugal heuristics, linear models
0959-3543
443-464
Katsikopoulos, Konstantinos V.
b97c23d9-8b24-4225-8da4-be7ac2a14fba
Pachur, Thorsten
de200dbc-8f7f-4329-b2f6-2898a0baea53
Machery, Edouard
d1615d47-63c8-4aa4-9e7d-5fd0619883cd
Wallin, Annika
113ea341-ee86-42ed-9afc-8a60d75e8924
Katsikopoulos, Konstantinos V.
b97c23d9-8b24-4225-8da4-be7ac2a14fba
Pachur, Thorsten
de200dbc-8f7f-4329-b2f6-2898a0baea53
Machery, Edouard
d1615d47-63c8-4aa4-9e7d-5fd0619883cd
Wallin, Annika
113ea341-ee86-42ed-9afc-8a60d75e8924

Katsikopoulos, Konstantinos V., Pachur, Thorsten, Machery, Edouard and Wallin, Annika (2008) From Meehl to fast and frugal heuristics (and back): New insights into how to bridge the clinical—actuarial divide. Theory & Psychology, 18 (4), 443-464. (doi:10.1177/0959354308091824).

Record type: Article

Abstract

It is difficult to overestimate Paul Meehl's influence on judgment and decision-making research. His ‘disturbing little book’ (Meehl, 1986, p. 370) Clinical versus Statistical Prediction: A Theoretical Analysis and a Review of the Evidence (1954) is known as an attack on human judgment and a call for replacing clinicians with actuarial methods. More than 40 years later, fast and frugal heuristics—proposed as models of human judgment—were formalized, tested, and found to be surprisingly accurate, often more so than the actuarial models that Meehl advocated. We ask three questions: Do the findings of the two programs contradict each other? More generally, how are the programs conceptually connected? Is there anything they can learn from each other? After demonstrating that there need not be a contradiction, we show that both programs converge in their concern to develop (a) domain-specific models of judgment and (b) nonlinear process models that arise from the bounded nature of judgment. We then elaborate the differences between the programs and discuss how these differences can be viewed as mutually instructive: First, we show that the fast and frugal heuristic models can help bridge the clinical—actuarial divide, that is, they can be developed into actuarial methods that are both accurate and easy to implement by the unaided clinical judge. We then argue that Meehl's insistence on improving judgment makes clear the importance of examining the degree to which heuristics are used in the clinical domain and how acceptable they would be as actuarial tools.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: 1 August 2008
Keywords: actuarial models, clinical judgment, decision making, fast and frugal heuristics, linear models

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 439268
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/439268
ISSN: 0959-3543
PURE UUID: 3f51faa2-d402-4316-becf-bc9b36f7826c
ORCID for Konstantinos V. Katsikopoulos: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9572-1980

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 07 Apr 2020 16:31
Last modified: 08 Apr 2020 00:38

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