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Percept Mot Skills. 1992 Oct;75(2):583-94.

Clinical versus actuarial prediction: a review of the literature.

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Department of Psychology, Iowa State University, Ames 50011-3180.


Decisions made by psychologists can have considerable consequences on people's lives. Their decisions could be based on clinical judgment or empirically derived formulas. These two alternatives created a controversy concerning clinical and actuarial prediction. This controversy has been in existence for almost 70 years. During this time hundreds of articles have been published on this topic. This paper contains a review of the findings and issues on clinical versus actuarial prediction. The main conclusions are that (1) linear models are superior to other mathematical models of human judgment, (2) actuarial methods are more accurate than clinical prediction in many situations, (3) human judgment is flawed, and (4) actuarial methods are rarely employed in practice for a variety of reasons.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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