defined as the systematic examination of diagnostic ..

The article on statistics by Biggeri and Braga, as well as the title of this chapter, indicate that statistical methods cannot be separated from epidemiological research. This is because: (a) a sound understanding of statistics may provide valuable insights into the proper design of an investigation and (b) statistics and epidemiology share a common heritage, and the entire quantitative basis of epidemiology is grounded in the notion of probability (Clayton 1992; Clayton and Hills 1993). In many of the articles that follow, empirical evidence and proof of hypothesized causal relationships are evaluated using probabilistic arguments and appropriate study designs. For example, emphasis is placed on estimating the risk measure of interest, like rates or relative risks, and on the construction of confidence intervals around these estimates instead of the execution of statistical tests of probability (Poole 1987; Gardner and Altman 1989; Greenland 1990). A brief introduction to statistical reasoning using the binomial distribution is provided. Statistics should be a companion to scientific reasoning. But it is worthless in the absence of properly designed and conducted research. Statisticians and epidemiologists are aware that the choice of methods determines what and the extent to which we make observations. The thoughtful choice of design options is therefore of fundamental importance in order to ensure valid observations.

it does not consider the effect of plausibility when evaluating a hypothesis

N2 - The aim of this research is to examine the generality of the part-set cueing effect, a well-known memory-inhibition phenomenon in basic research, to professional problem diagnosis. Three experiments were conducted. Experiment 1 examines whether part-set cueing affects the ability of auditors to recall diagnoses, and if so, whether memory inhibition is affected by the plausibility of the hypotheses. Experiment 2 examines whether the part-set cueing effect is sensitive to changes in the symptoms that drive the diagnosis and whether differences in inhibition occur because of prompt plausibility or because of target plausibility. Experiment 3 extends the findings of the first two experiments to hypothesis generation and discriminates between competing accounts for the part-set cueing effect. The results show that part-set cueing effects occur during hypothesis generation and that they are robust to changes in the symptoms. However, the results from the experiments reveal an asymmetric inhibition effect. Inhibition is significant when prompts contain low plausibility hypotheses that are also high in severity. When prompts consist of high plausibility or low severity hypotheses, no inhibition is observed. These findings are considered to be consistent with an editing account of the part-set cueing phenomenon. The implications of these findings to problem diagnosis and decision aids are discussed.


Chapter 8 — Central Intelligence Agency

(assessing relative plausibility of hypotheses given the evidence), ..

There were differ-ences in exposure measures (cord blood versus maternal hair), types of neuro-logical and psychological tests administered (domain-specific versus global de-velopmental outcomes), the age of testing (7 years versus 5.5 years of age),possible confounders (PCB exposure or genetic differences in the populationsstudied), and biostatistical issues related to data analysis (NRC, 2000~.


in medicine is the precise role of plausibility, ..

AB - The aim of this research is to examine the generality of the part-set cueing effect, a well-known memory-inhibition phenomenon in basic research, to professional problem diagnosis. Three experiments were conducted. Experiment 1 examines whether part-set cueing affects the ability of auditors to recall diagnoses, and if so, whether memory inhibition is affected by the plausibility of the hypotheses. Experiment 2 examines whether the part-set cueing effect is sensitive to changes in the symptoms that drive the diagnosis and whether differences in inhibition occur because of prompt plausibility or because of target plausibility. Experiment 3 extends the findings of the first two experiments to hypothesis generation and discriminates between competing accounts for the part-set cueing effect. The results show that part-set cueing effects occur during hypothesis generation and that they are robust to changes in the symptoms. However, the results from the experiments reveal an asymmetric inhibition effect. Inhibition is significant when prompts contain low plausibility hypotheses that are also high in severity. When prompts consist of high plausibility or low severity hypotheses, no inhibition is observed. These findings are considered to be consistent with an editing account of the part-set cueing phenomenon. The implications of these findings to problem diagnosis and decision aids are discussed.