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Psychodiagnosis: Selected Papers

Copyright Date: 1973
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 384
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Psychodiagnosis was first published in 1973. This volume brings together a collection of the important papers of the distinguished clinical psychologist Paul E. Meehl. Among the thirteen papers are two which appear for the first time in this volume. The one entitled “Why I Do Not Attend Case Conferences” is likely to provoke controversy among clinical psychologists and other practitioners who participate in psychiatric case conferences, such as psychiatrists and neurologists. In this paper, Dr. Meehl presents a comprehensive critique of the methods typically followed in conducting and participating in such conferences and cites many illustrative examples of the issues under discussion. He offers specific suggestions for improving conference procedures, explaining: “I have tried to offer at least the beginnings of a constructive plan for bringing the reinforcement schedule and cognitive feedback of the psychiatric case conference somewhat closer to those which prevail in the clinicopathological conference that has been so successful as a teaching device in the non-psychiatric fields of medicine.” Also published here for the first time is a paper presenting a new statistical search method for detecting loose syndromes and classifying patients accordingly.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6368-2
    Subjects: Psychology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-xxii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. xxiii-2)
  3. 1 Construct Validity in Psychological Tests
    (pp. 3-31)
    Lee J. Cronbach

    Validation of psychological tests has not yet been adequately conceptualized, as the APA Committee on Test Standards learned when it undertook (1950–54) to specify what qualities should be investigated before a test is published. In order to make coherent recommendations the committee found it necessary to distinguish four types of validity, established by different types of research and requiring different interpretation. The chief innovation in the committee’s report was the termconstruct validity.¹ This idea was first formulated by a subcommittee (Meehl and R. C. Challman) studying how proposed recommendations would apply to projective techniques, and later modified and...

  4. 2 Antecedent Probability and the Efficiency of Psychometric Signs, Patterns, or Cutting Scores
    (pp. 32-62)
    Albert Rosen

    In clinical practice, psychologists frequently participate in the making of vital decisions concerning the classification, treatment, prognosis, and disposition of individuals. In their attempts to increase the number of correct classifications and predictions, psychologists have developed and applied many psychometric devices, such as patterns of test responses as well as cutting scores for scales, indices, and sign lists. Since diagnostic and prognostic statements can often be made with a high degree of accuracy purely on the basis of actuarial or experience tables (referred to hereinafter asbase rates), a psychometric device, to be efficient, must make possible a greater number...

  5. 3 Wanted—A Good Cookbook
    (pp. 63-80)

    Once upon a time there was a young fellow who, as we say, was “vocationally maladjusted.” He wasn’t sure just what the trouble was, but he knew that he wasn’t happy in his work. So, being a denizen of an urban, sophisticated, psychologically oriented culture, he concluded that what he needed was some professional guidance. He went to the counseling bureau of a large midwestern university (according to some versions of the tale, it was located on the banks of a great river), and there he was interviewed by a world-famous vocational psychologist. When the psychologist explained that it would...

  6. 4 When Shall We Use Our Heads instead of the Formula?
    (pp. 81-89)

    My title question, “When shall we use our heads instead of the formula?” is not rhetorical. I am sincerely asking what I see as an important question. I find the two extreme answers to this question, namely, “Always” and “Never,” equally unacceptable. But to formulate a satisfactory answer upon the present evidence seems extraordinarily difficult.

    I put the question in the practical clinical context. This is where Sarbin (1942) put it in his pioneering study fourteen years ago, and this is where it belongs. Some critics of my book (1954a) have repudiated the whole question by saying that, always and...

  7. 5 Some Ruminations on the Validation of Clinical Procedures
    (pp. 90-116)

    It is becoming almost a cliché to say that “clinical psychology is in a state of ferment,” a remark which is ambiguous as to whether the “ferment” is a healthy or pathological condition. Dr. E. Lowell Kelly finds upon follow-up that about 40 percent of the young clinicians who were studied in the early days of the Veterans Administration training program now state that they would not go into clinical psychology if they had it to do over again (personal communication). In recent textbooks, such as Garfield’s, one can detect a note of apology or defensiveness which was not apparent...

  8. 6 The Cognitive Activity of the Clinician
    (pp. 117-134)

    Somebody has described psychotherapy as “the art of applying a science which does not yet exist.” Those of us who try to help people with their troubles by means of that special kind of conversation are uncomfortably aware of the serious truth behind this facetious remark. The clinical psychologist has been able to assuage some of his therapeutic anxiety, and to refurbish his sometimes battered self-image, by keeping one foot planted on what seemed like comparatively solid ground, namely, psychodiagnosis. In recent years, some clinicians have been making a determined effort to assess the validity of our currently fashionable diagnostic...

  9. 7 Schizotaxia, Schizotypy, Schizophrenia
    (pp. 135-155)

    In the course of the last decade, while spending several thousand hours in the practice of intensive psychotherapy, I have treated—sometimes unknowingly except in retrospect—a considerable number of schizoid and schizophrenic patients. Like all clinicians, I have formed some theoretical opinions as a result of these experiences. While I have not until recently begun any systematic research efforts on this baffling disorder, I felt that to share with you some of my thoughts, based though they are upon clinical impressions in the context of selected research by others, might be an acceptable use of this occasion.

    Let me...

  10. 8 Mixed-Group Validation: A Method for Determining the Validity of Diagnostic Signs without Using Criterion Groups
    (pp. 156-164)
    Robyn Mason Dawes

    A medical practitioner discovers a sign that he believes will distinguish between patients who will survive lockjaw and patients who will not. A psychologist discovers a sign that he believes will distinguish between schizophrenic and nonschizophrenic adults. An educator discovers a sign that he believes will distinguish between students who will be successful in graduate school and those who will not.

    In all the above examples, the diagnostician is concerned with a universe of people that can be exhaustively divided into two types (survivors and nonsurvivors, schizophrenics and nonschizophrenics, successful students and unsuccessful students); let these types be labeledX...

  11. 9 What Can the Clinician Do Well?
    (pp. 165-173)

    In the preface to the bookClinical versus Statistical Prediction(1954a) I wrote that students reacted to my lectures on prediction as to a projective technique. Many psychologists have responded to the book in the same way. I am therefore going to take this opportunity to repeat, with refinement and clarification, the statement of my essential position.

    First of all, I am puzzled by the extent to which both statisticians and clinicians perceive the book as an attack upon the clinician. On the contrary, my position was, and is, that the clinician performs certain unique, important, and unduplicable functions, in...

  12. 10 High School Yearbooks: A Reply to Schwarz
    (pp. 174-181)

    In a recent contribution to theJournal of Abnormal Psychology,Schwarz (1970) criticized the methodology of an archival study by Barthell and Holmes (1968) on grounds which are of general interest to social scientists, and which I have treated elsewhere (Meehl, 1969a, 1969b, expanded in 1970a).¹ The paper by Barthell and Holmes provides a beautiful example, in the area of psychopathology, of amajorunsolved problem in nonexperimental social science research, and my present purpose is to call it forcefully to the attention of readers of the psychopathology literature. With the substantive merits of Barthell and Holmes’ investigation (e.g., how...

  13. 11 Specific Genetic Etiology, Psychodynamics, and Therapeutic Nihilism
    (pp. 182-199)

    Dr. Erlenmeyer-Kimling [guest editor of the issue of the journal in which this paper originally appeared, an issue devoted to “Genetics and Mental Disorders”] has assigned to me one of the most difficult and unrewarding of scholarly tasks, to wit, expounding the obvious. My feeling is that if a clinician or behavior scientist needs the clarifications of this paper, it can only be because he is so ideologically committed that he will be psychologically unable to receive them. For the others it will be just one more exposition of “what every informed and sophisticated person knows.” But I accepted the...

  14. 12 MAXCOV-HITMAX: A Taxonomic Search Method for Loose Genetic Syndromes
    (pp. 200-224)

    At this writing it is no longer possible for an informed person, unless he is an environmentalist fanatic, to believe that everyone is born with an equal biological talent for developing schizophrenia, the only important difference between schizophrenics and others arising from their social learning experiences. Two monumental investigations alone would suffice to make such a view completely untenable (Heston, 1966, 1970; Gottesman and Shields, 1968, 1972). I think it is time for those of us interested in behavioral genetics to suspend debate with radical environmentalists, calmly recognizing that there are ideologies in science (as in politics and religion) which...

  15. 13 Why I Do Not Attend Case Conferences
    (pp. 225-304)

    I have for many years been accustomed to the social fact that colleagues and students find some of my beliefs and attitudes paradoxical (some would, perhaps, use the stronger wordcontradictory). I flatter myself that this paradoxically arises primarily because my views (like the world) are complex and cannot be neatly subsumed under some simpleminded undergraduate rubric (e.g., behavioristic, Freudian, actuarial, positivist, hereditarian). I find, for example, that psychologists who visit Minneapolis for the first time and drop in for a chat with me generally show clinical signs of mild psychic shock when they find a couch in my office...

  16. References
    (pp. 305-326)
  17. Index
    (pp. 327-359)