Emerging paradigms of cognition in medical decision-making

J Biomed Inform. 2002 Feb;35(1):52-75. doi: 10.1016/s1532-0464(02)00009-6.


The limitations of the classical or traditional paradigm of decision research are increasingly apparent, even though there has been a substantial body of empirical research on medical decision-making over the past 40 years. As decision-support technology continues to proliferate in medical settings, it is imperative that "basic science" decision research develop a broader-based and more valid foundation for the study of medical decision-making as it occurs in the natural setting. This paper critically reviews both traditional and recent approaches to medical decision making, considering the integration of problem-solving and decision-making research paradigms, the role of conceptual knowledge in decision-making, and the emerging paradigm of naturalistic decision-making. We also provide an examination of technology-mediated decision-making. Expanding the scope of decision research will better enable us to understand optimal decision processes, suitable coping mechanisms under suboptimal conditions, the development of expertise in decision-making, and ways in which decision-support technology can successfully mediate decision processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cognitive Science*
  • Computational Biology
  • Decision Making*
  • Decision Support Techniques
  • Humans
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized
  • Models, Psychological
  • Problem Solving