City Research Online

Constructive biases in clinical judgment

Wojciechowski, B. W., Izydorczyk, B., Blasiak, P. , Yearsley, J. ORCID: 0000-0003-4604-1839, White, L. C. & Pothos, E. M. ORCID: 0000-0003-1919-387X (2021). Constructive biases in clinical judgment. Topics in Cognitive Science, 14(3), pp. 508-527. doi: 10.1111/tops.12547


With a pair of oppositely valenced stimuli, rating the first one sometimes leads to a more extreme evaluation for the second (e.g., if the second is negatively valenced, rating the first stimulus would lead to a more negative rating for the second; White et al., 2014). We considered an evaluation bias in the case of clinical diagnosis relating to eating disorders. A population sample which included experienced clinical psychologists and psychiatrists, showed partial evidence of an evaluation bias, when judging descriptions of individuals designed to be consistent with eating disorders or not. Quantum probability theory, the probability rules from quantum mechanics without any of the physics, is particularly well-suited to modeling the evaluation bias (and constructive influences generally), because a measurement (or judgement) can change the state of the system. We applied a previous quantum model to the present result, an extension of the model embodying noisy processes, and Hogarth and Einhorn’s (1992) belief adjustment model. We discuss how model fits inform an examination of rationality in the observed behavior.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Wojciechowski, B. W., Izydorczyk, B., Blasiak, P., Yearsley, J. , White, L. C. and Pothos, E. M. (2021). Constructive biases in clinical judgment. Topics in Cogntive Science, which is published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
Publisher Keywords: evaluation bias, constructive influences, quantum probability theory, clinical decision making, eating disorders
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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