Diagnosing Clinical Diagnosis

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(1), 48–49. Reviews the book, Medical Problem Solving: An Analysis of Clinical Reaasoning by Arthur S. Elstein, Lee S. Shulman, and Sarah A. Sprafka (with Linda Allal, Michael Gordon, Hilliard Jason, Norman Kagan, Michael J. Loupe, and Ronald D. Jordan) (1978). Increasingly, medical educators are realizing that for their training to be effective, it must be embedded in some theory of how medical students and expert physicians perform diagnoses. This book should prove to be a landmark in the development of that theory. Elstein et al attempted to overcome these problems with a mixed strategy that included studies varying systematically in the verisimilitude and formalization of their stimuli. The authors' high-fidelity simulations differ in some poorly understood ways from comparable real-life situations. The breadth and depth of their coverage might also motivate more psychologists to consider problem solving in its full complexity, with uncertain information, incomplete data sets, and asymmetrical loss functions for different sorts of errors. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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