Remembering and diagnosing clients: Does experience matter?
SourceMemory, 20, 3, (2012), pp. 266-276
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OGG
SW OZ BSI ON
SubjectExperimental Psychopathology and Treatment; Social Development
Experienced mental health clinicians often do not outperform novices in diagnostic decision making. In this paper we look for an explanation of this phenomenon by testing differences in memory processes. In two studies we aimed to look at differences in accuracy of diagnoses in relation to free recall of client information between mental health clinicians with different levels of experience. Clinicians were presented with two cases, and were asked afterwards, either directly (Study 1) or after 1 week (Study 2), to give the appropriate diagnoses and to write down what they remembered of the cases. We found in Study 1 that the accuracy of the diagnoses was the same for all levels of experience, as was the amount of details recalled. Very experienced clinicians did remember more higher-order concepts, that is, abstractions from the presented information. In Study 2 we found that the very experienced clinicians were less accurate in their diagnoses and remembered fewer details than the novices. In response to these findings we further discuss their implications for psychodiagnostic practice.
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