, Volume 189, Issue 1, pp 119-130

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Associations between psychologists’ thinking styles and accuracy on a diagnostic classification task

  • Alexander A. AartsAffiliated withBehavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen Email author 
  • , Cilia L. M. WittemanAffiliated withBehavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen
  • , Pierre M. SourenAffiliated withBehavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen
  • , Jos I. M. EggerAffiliated withBehavioural Science Institute, Radboud University NijmegenCentre of Excellence for Neuropsychiatry, Vincent van Gogh Institute for PsychiatryDonders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Centre for Cognition, Radboud University Nijmegen


The present study investigated whether individual differences between psychologists in thinking styles are associated with accuracy in diagnostic classification. We asked novice and experienced clinicians to classify two clinical cases of clients with two co-occurring psychological disorders. No significant difference in diagnostic accuracy was found between the two groups, but when combining the data from novices and experienced psychologists accuracy was found to be negatively associated with certain decision making strategies and with a higher self-assessed ability and preference for a rational thinking style. Our results underscore the idea that it might be fruitful to look for explanations of differences in the accuracy of diagnostic judgments in individual differences between psychologists (such as in thinking styles or decision making strategies used), rather than in experience level.


Diagnostic classification Thinking style Decision making