As a Cognitive Scientist, I’ve published research on concepts, memory, causes, judgment, decision-making, expert thinking, and mental health. Details below. Enjoy!
PUBLISHED ACADEMIC RESEARCH ARTICLES
Authors: Erienne R. Weine & Nancy S. Kim (2019)
Citation: Weine, E. R., & Kim, N. S. (2018). Systematic distortions in clinicians’ memories for client cases: Increasing causal coherence. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, Vol 45(2), Feb 2019, 196-212.
Abstract: In accord with classic schema theory, people are susceptible to forming false memories that align with stored schema representations (Brewer & Treyens, 1981). Furthermore, clinicians schematize mental disorders as causal networks of features (de Kwaadsteniet, Hagmayer, Krol, & Witteman, 2010; Kim & Ahn, 2002). We asked whether one important consequence of this representation is that clinicians tend to misremember client cases as being more causally coherent than they actually are. We tested this hypothesis by manipulating the causal coherence of case descriptions via a well-documented cue-to-causality, the proportionality between features (Einhorn & Hogarth, 1986). Clinicians read hypothetical cases describing three pieces of clinically relevant client information presented in causal order: recent life events, the clients’ emotional reactions to those events, and their behaviors following those reactions. Each piece of information (event, reaction, behaviors) was manipulated to either be severely or mildly negative, rendering it proportionate or disproportionate to the other pieces of information. The clinicians offered diagnoses for these client cases, and then completed an unexpected recognition task. Clinicians were significantly more likely to misremember causally incoherent cases (i.e., in which the severity of the client’s emotional reaction did not match the severity of the life event or behaviors) as having been coherent, compared to their likelihood of misremembering coherent cases as having been incoherent. They also incorrectly recognized false reaction lures more frequently overall than false event lures or false behavior lures. We discuss potential implications for the proportionate-response effect, schema theory, inference, causal coherence, and expert judgments.
Journal: Clinical Psychological Science
Authors: Erienne R. Weine & Nancy S. Kim (2018)
Citation: Weine, E. R., & Kim, N. S. (2018). The influence of event and reaction context on clinicians’ disorder diagnoses. Clinical Psychological Science, 6 (2), 203-215.
Abstract: Clinicians’ judgments about clients can be influenced by the causal context (e.g., life events) preceding behavioral symptoms. However, it is unclear whether this influence extends to diagnosis judgments. In diagnosing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), traumatic event context must be present, and severe immediate reaction context was formerly required for many years. In a vignette study, we systematically examined whether event and reaction severity influence clinicians’ open-ended diagnoses of PTSD behaviors, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) behaviors, and nondisordered behaviors. Clinicians made more diagnoses of PTSD for all three types of behaviors (PTSD, MDD, distressed) given a traumatic event than a mildly stressful event but simultaneously found the behaviors to be less abnormal. We found no evidence that reaction context influenced diagnoses. Future directions and the role of causal context in clinical diagnosis are discussed.
Article Link: Understanding Lay Assessments of Alcohol Use Disorder
Journal: Alcohol and Alcoholism
Authors: Erienne R. Weine, Nancy S. Kim, & Alisa K. Lincoln (2016)
Citation: Weine, E. R., Kim, N. S., & Lincoln, A. K. (2015). Understanding lay assessments of Alcohol Use Disorder: Need for treatment and associated stigma. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 51(1), 98-105.
Three-quarters of people with an alcohol use disorder in the USA never receive treatment. Our understandings of who receives care are informed by sociological perspectives, theories and models, each of which discuss the role of lay people’s understanding of illness. However, comparatively little work has been done to unpack the cognitive processes underlying lay assessment. In the context of the Framework Integrating Normative Influences on Stigma (FINIS), we aim to understand key factors guiding lay people’s stigmatizing attitudes, perceptions and assessments of alcohol use disorder behaviors.
Lay people read a vignette depicting a male or female adult with a diagnosable alcohol use disorder, along with either a causal life-event explanation for the alcohol use disorder behaviors or no explanation. They then made judgments of the need for treatment, psychological abnormality and the stigma they felt toward the person depicted.
Causal life-event explanations decreased lay judgments of the need for treatment, psychological abnormality and stigma.
The results suggest that the availability of a causal life-event explanation may have a complex effect on lay judgments, decreasing the likelihood of recommending treatment for alcohol use disorders, yet simultaneously reducing stigmatizing perceptions (and presumably social distance).
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Dr. Erienne Weine