Psychological evaluations are used to make important decisions about individuals, such as access to supports and services, admission to education and training programs, suitability for employment, compensation, denial of liberty and property, dangerousness, etc. It is not uncommon for healthcare and social services professionals to rely on “clinical judgment” to make decisions about their clients. Clinical judgment is fraught with biases and errors that the clinicians themselves are seldom aware of. Lack of training, bias, outdated knowledge, and even a careless mistake could prove devastating for an individual being tested.
Psychologists use structured tests used to gather objective data rather than relying on clinical judgment alone. Highly trained and scientifically oriented psychologists are also well aware of the dangers of unconscious bias and errors in decision making and take extra steps to minimize bias and identify potential errors.