Arnoult, L. H., & Anderson, C. A. (1988).
Identifying and reducing causal reasoning biases in clinical practice.
In D. Turk & P. Salovey (Eds.) Reasoning, inference, and judgment in clinical psychology. (pp. 209-232). New York: Free Press.
Thinking about causes is a fundamental part of clinical practice. Causes of clients' problems as well as potential causes of desired therapeutic change must be considered. Clinicians make use of available evidence and previously acquired general knowledge to understand the causes of behavior. Unfortunately, there is much group for bias to enter into the deliberations. We recognize that it is not possible to totally avoid bias, but we believe that a reduction of biased thinking is possible. In this chapter we offer two approaches to reducing biases in thinking about causes: (a) increased awareness of potential sources of bias, and (b) activities designed to promote more normative causal inference. We begin by reviewing recent research on sources of bias that might be present whenever causal judgments are made. Then we consider sources of biased specific to clinical practice. We also outline some bias-reducing activities, including specific training procedures and exercises designed to help clinicians develop bias-reducing thinking habits that will remain operative in day-to-day practice.
© 1988 by Craig A. Anderson.