Oh G-d, A Borderline: Clinical Diagnostics As Fundamental Attribution Error Page: 33
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participants as such is uncertain (see Limitations).
Assuming that the context manipulation was effective enough to enter into the inference
making process of the participants, its lack of statistical profundity may be another indicator of
the boundaries of the FAE and attribution theory's utility in the research of clinical phenomena.
That is, if this study did actually better represent real-world clinical situations by modeling
contextual information and client behavior after more realistic conditions, then it may be the case
that diagnoses do not significantly influence clinicians' perceptions of the role of contextual
factors. On the other hand, it could still be the case that clinicians' training has so ingrained
apathy towards the role of contextual factors that context does not enter into their clinical
formulation to even be obstructed by the FAE. Specifically, contextual information does not yield
great enough situational attributions to start with, and thus diagnosis does not significantly re-
direct clinical attributions towards disposition, because they were dispositional already.
A couple of relevant observations can be made about of the results of the manipulation
checks. While there were only six inaccuracies in reporting whether a participant had been given
a diagnosis or not, there were 20 inaccurate responses about whether information about the
Client's day (context condition) had been given. Furthermore, that nearly twice as many (Table
4) participants inaccurately recalled whether they had received context information in the
diagnosis condition than those in the no diagnosis condition suggests a potential effect of
diagnosis that is in concordance with FAE theory. FAE suggests that even prominent contextual
controls on behavior are forgotten in the attribution process. The design of this study provided a
relatively small amount of information to participants prior to the presentation of the Video
stimulus, which suggests that there was not extraneous information presented that would make it
difficult for the participant to accurately recall whether they had been provided information about
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Schmalz, Jonathan. Oh G-d, A Borderline: Clinical Diagnostics As Fundamental Attribution Error, thesis, December 2011; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103389/m1/39/: accessed February 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .