Expertise Effects in Patient Classification

Sarah Devantier’s study of  of thinking by medical experts and novices was recently published in PLosONE. We designed a forced-choice triad task in which we asked our subjects to choose which one of two hypothetical patients best matched a target patient. Targets and potential matches were related in terms of deep features (related to a concurrent diagnosis or related to how the patients should be managed) or in terms of surface features (aspects of the patient that were evident from the description). We found that experts were more likely than novices to match patients on deep features, and that this pattern held for diagnostic triads and management triads.

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