Clinical versus actuarial judgment

Science  31 Mar 1989:
Vol. 243, Issue 4899, pp. 1668-1674
DOI: 10.1126/science.2648573


Professionals are frequently consulted to diagnose and predict human behavior; optimal treatment and planning often hinge on the consultant's judgmental accuracy. The consultant may rely on one of two contrasting approaches to decision-making--the clinical and actuarial methods. Research comparing these two approaches shows the actuarial method to be superior. Factors underlying the greater accuracy of actuarial methods, sources of resistance to the scientific findings, and the benefits of increased reliance on actuarial approaches are discussed.

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