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Keywords:

  • clinical;
  • actuarial;
  • heuristics;
  • full rationality;
  • decision making;
  • attitudes

ABSTRACT

Attitudes toward four types of decision-making strategies—clinical/fully rational, clinical/heuristic, actuarial/fully rational, and actuarial/heuristic—were examined across three studies. In Study 1, undergraduate students were split randomly between legal and medical decision-making scenarios and asked to rate each strategy in terms of the following: (i) preference; (ii) accuracy; (iii) fairness; (iv) ethicalness; and (v) its perceived similarity to the strategies used by actual legal and medical professionals to make decisions. Studies 2 and 3 extended Study 1 by using a more relevant scenario and a community sample, respectively. Across the three studies, the clinical/fully rational strategy tended to be rated the highest across all attitudinal judgments, whereas the actuarial/heuristic strategy tended to receive the lowest ratings. Considering the two strategy-differentiating factors separately, clinically based strategies tended to be rated higher than actuarially based strategies, and fully rational strategies were always rated higher than heuristic-based strategies. The potential implications of the results for professionals' and those affected by their decisions are discussed. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.