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Keywords:

  • Medical decision making;
  • behavioral science;
  • cognition;
  • child psychiatry

Physicians, including child and adolescent psychiatrists, show variability and inaccuracies in diagnosis and treatment of their patients and do not routinely implement evidenced-based medical and psychiatric treatments in the community. We believe that it is necessary to characterize the decision-making processes of child and adolescent psychiatrists using theories and methods from cognitive and social sciences in order to design effective interventions to improve practice and education. This paper selectively reviews the decision-making literature, including recent studies on naturalistic decision making, novice–expert differences, and the role of technology on decision making and cognition. We also provide examples from other areas of medicine and discuss their implications for child psychiatry.