PSY 4372 Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Fundamental Attribution Error, Clinical Psychology, Psychological Testing
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Chapter 9: Assessment, Integration, and Clinical Decision Making
Integrating Assessment Data: Integrating data obtained during an assessment. Requires providing a descriptive
account of the clients present psychological functioning.
Case Formulation: a description of the patient that provides information on his her life situation, current problems,
and a set of hypothesis linking psychological factors with the patients clinical condition.
Benefits of Case Formulation
• provides a way of understanding the connections between a patients various problems
• provides guidance on the type of treatment the individual should consider
• predicts future functioning
• provides options to consider if difficulties are encountered implementing and following through on treatment
Developing a Case Formulation
1. comprehensive problem list including the individuals stated problems and other problems indicated by referral
agents or identified by other informants during the assessment
2. determine the nature of each problem, including its origin, current precipitants, and consequences
3. identify patterns or commonalities among the problems; this may yield an indication of previously unidentified
factors that serve to maintain, exacerbate, or lessen the problem
4. develop working hypotheses to explain the problems
5. evaluate and refine the hypothesis, using all information gathered during the assessment and the patients
6. if the psychologist moves from conducting an assessment to providing treatment, the hypothesis should be
reconsidered, re-evaluated, and revised as necessary based on the information gathered
Cognitive Behavioural Case Formulation Approach: emphasizes the importance of identifying the patents over
problems such as psychological schemas that, when activated by life events, are believed to cause the over
• found that clinicians when presented with detailed case information accurately identified about two thirds of a
clients main presenting problems and that the mean inter rater reliability of the patients schemas was r = 0.72
• training and experience are associated with higher reliability values
Threats to the Validity of Case Formulations
Retrospective Recall: using data that rely on people to remember events that happened to the at some point in the
Individuals may change how they are viewed in psychological analysis to achieve certain ends.
A basic assumption underlying the use of interviews and self-report measures is that people accurately recall and
report events in their lives.
Self-Serving Attributional Bias: tendency to take a more personal credit for successes than for failures by attributing
success but not failure to internal, stale, and global causes.
Subtle influences can affect judgement, reasoning, and decision-making processes.
Heuristics: mental shortcuts that make decision making easier and faster but often lead to less accurate decisions.
Fundamental Attribution Error: In attempting to understand why a person acted in such a manner, there is a tendency
to overstate the influence of personality traits and underestimate the situational effects.
Inattention to Base Rates: a psychologist may believe that a certain pattern of responses on a test is indicative of a
specific diagnosis and support this belief with information on some relevant cases. However, without full knowledge
of the case rate of the pattern of test responses and the diagnosis it is not possible to determine the extent to which
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