Computerized Clinical Psychological Test Interpretations. Unvalidated Plus All Mean and No Sigma

Joseph D. Matarazzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


The author believes that computerized clinical psychological test interpretations offer considerable potential for improving the work of health service providers. In the not-too-distant future, it may be possible to use in isolation such products of our new technology in validly describing a unique human. However, until future research establishes that such descriptions meet even the most primitive scientific tests of validation, let alone more adequate ones, it is essential that they be used only as tools by the clinician trained in their use and not as equivalents of, and thus substitutes for, professional education and training. It therefore is imperative that the necessary additional research be initiated and that the profession of psychology accelerate the process of educating our members and use every means possible to communicate to the consumer, the undertrained provider, the psychologist consultants, and the businesspersons and companies selling the software the risks involved in the misuse of such computerized clinical psychological narratives. Society has demonstrated forcefully during the past 20 years its capacity to regulate the use of the tools of psychology when our discipline fails to regulate itself or other users of the knowledge of our discipline. Putting aside the more important human costs, the author believes that the increases that this new technology is adding to the cost of health care have increased the probabilities that legislative, judicial, and administrative restrictions and sanctions will be imposed unless the profession of psychology itself takes the required steps to educate our members and to vigorously pursue the necessary research. Evidence has accumulated during the past two years that psychologists have begun to address vigorously and responsibly some of the scientific, ethical, and professional aspects of the threat this new technology will pose to society and to our profession, if it is left unbridled.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-24
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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