Determinants of Diagnostic Hypothesis Generation: Effects of Information, Base Rates, and Experience

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, Vol. 19, No. 5, pp. 1151-1164

14 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2009

See all articles by Elke U. Weber

Elke U. Weber

Columbia Business School - Management & Psychology

Ulf Bockenholt

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Denis Hilton

University of Toulouse

Brian Wallace

University College London - Centre for Economic Learning and Social Evolution (ELSE)

Date Written: September 1993

Abstract

Physicians generated diagnostic hypotheses for case histories for which 2 types of diagnoses were plausible, with one having a higher population base rate but less severe clinical consequences than the other. The number of clinical and background symptoms pointing towards the 2 diagnoses was factorially manipulated. The order and frequency with which physicians generated hypotheses varied with the amount of relevant clinical and background information and as a function of population incidence rates, with little evidence of base rate neglect. Availability of a hypothesis, made possible by diagnosis of a similar case before, also made doctors generate this diagnosis earlier and more frequently. Physicians' experience affected hypothesis generation solely by increasing the availability of similar cases. The results are consistent with the use of similarity-based hypothesis generation processes that operate on memory for prior cases.

Suggested Citation

Weber, Elke U. and Bockenholt, Ulf and Hilton, Denis and Wallace, Brian, Determinants of Diagnostic Hypothesis Generation: Effects of Information, Base Rates, and Experience (September 1993). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, Vol. 19, No. 5, pp. 1151-1164. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1323461

Elke U. Weber (Contact Author)

Columbia Business School - Management & Psychology ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Ulf Bockenholt

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Denis Hilton

University of Toulouse ( email )

41 Allées Jules Guesde - CS 61321
TOULOUSE
France

Brian Wallace

University College London - Centre for Economic Learning and Social Evolution (ELSE) ( email )

Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

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