Guide to identifying and correcting decision making errors in mental disability
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law
22(4): 561-75, 1994.
Presented is a practical and theoretical guide to help practitioners identify and alleviate decision
making errors. Common decision making and judgment errors are inventoried and presented as
deviations from the scientific method. Also presented is evidence of judgmental inaccuracies in
critical areas. A modus operandi called the "lab report" method is offered as a way to avoid making
some of these errors. The lab report method is a way of conducting forensic evaluations in a more
rational and scientific way, in much the same way as a good researcher would conduct a study. Using
this method the clinician, like the researcher, uses clearly articulated alternative hypotheses with
specifically operationalized measures. Data are collected in a systematic way to test each hypothesis,
and consistent feedback is sought. Throughout the paper the scientific method is reviewed; evidence
of problems applying it in clinical practice are presented, as are ways of overcoming these problems.