Module B: Social Psychology in the Clinic
Clinical Psychology: the study, assessment, and treatment of people with psychological
Clinical psychology seeks to answer four questions:
1. As laypeople or as professional psychologists, how can we improve our judgements
and predictions about others?
2. How do the ways in which we think about self and others fuel problems such as
depression, anxiety, and ill health?
3. How might people reverse these maladaptive thought patterns?
4. What part do close, supportive relationships play in health and happiness?
Clinical judgements are also social judgements, and thus vulnerable to illusory correlation,
overconfidence bred by hindsight, and self-confirming diagnoses
Illusory correlation: if a person expected a particular association they generally
perceived it, regardless of whether the data was supportive. Believing that a relationship
existed between two things, people are more likely to notice confirming instances.
Professional clinicians are frequently the victims of illusory correlation
Are too readily convinced of their own after-the-fact-analyses
Often failed to appreciate that erroneous diagnoses can be self-confirming
Often overestimate the predictive powers o