Doctor, what does my positive test mean? From Bayesian textbook tasks to personalized risk communication

Navarrete, Gorka, Correia, Rut, Sirota, Miroslav, Juanchich, Marie and Huepe, David (2015) Doctor, what does my positive test mean? From Bayesian textbook tasks to personalized risk communication. Frontiers in Psychology: Cognition, 6(1327), ISSN (print) 1664-1078

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Most of the research on Bayesian reasoning aims to answer theoretical questions about the extent to which people are able to update their beliefs according to Bayes' Theorem, about the evolutionary nature of Bayesian inference, or about the role of cognitive abilities in Bayesian inference. Few studies aim to answer practical, mainly health-related questions, such as, "What does it mean to have a positive test in a context of cancer screening?" or "What is the best way to communicate a medical test result so a patient will understand it?". This type of research aims to translate empirical findings into effective ways of providing risk information. In addition, the applied research often adopts the paradigms and methods of the theoretically-motivated research. But sometimes it works the other way around, and the theoretical research borrows the importance of the practical question in the medical context. The study of Bayesian reasoning is relevant to risk communication in that, to be as useful as possible, applied research should employ specifically tailored methods and contexts specific to the recipients of the risk information. In this paper, we concentrate on the communication of the result of medical tests and outline the epidemiological and test parameters that affect the predictive power of a test-whether it is correct or not. Building on this, we draw up recommendations for better practice to convey the results of medical tests that could inform health policy makers (What are the drawbacks of mass screenings?), be used by health practitioners and, in turn, help patients to make better and more informed decisions.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: bayesian reasoning, positive predictive value, risk communication, bayesian textbook tasks, medical tests
Research Area: Psychology
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (until 2017) > School of Psychology, Criminology and Sociology (from November 2012)
Faculty of Business and Law (until 2017)
Faculty of Business and Law (until 2017) > Kingston Business School (Department of Management) (from August 2013)
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Depositing User: Automatic Import Agent
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2016 11:40
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2016 11:40

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