Probability Judgment in Medicine: Discounting Unspecified Possibilities

  • Redelmeier D
  • Koehler D
  • Liberman V
  • 35


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 92


    Citations of this article.


Research in cognitive psychology has indicated that alternative descriptions of the same event can give rise to different probability judgments. This observation has led to the development of a descriptive account, called support theory, which assumes that the judged probability of an explicit description of an event (that lists specific possibilities) generally exceeds the judged probability of an implicit description of the same event (that does not mention specific possibilities). To investigate this assumption in medical judgment, the authors presented physicians with brief clinical scenarios describing individual patients and elicited diagnostic and prognostic probability judgments. The results showed that the physicians tended to discount unspecified possibilities, as predicted by support theory. The authors suggest that an awareness of the discrepancy between intuitive judgments and the laws of chance may provide opportunities for improving medical decision making.

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document

Get full text


  • Donald A. Redelmeier

  • Derek J. Koehler

  • Varda Liberman

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free