Effects of diagnostic suggestion on the clinical judgments and recall memories of autobiography

Dong Yul Lee, Max R. Uhlemann, Azy Barak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We hypothesized that diagnostic suggestion would significantly affect clinician-trainees' clinical judgment and recall of autobiographical information. Eighty volunteer clinician-trainees, assigned to two groups, read an autobiography written either by a depressed or a nondepressed person. Before reading one of the autobiographies, volunteer clinician-trainees were given one of two mental sets: (a) a diagnostic suggestion that the writer had been diagnosed as clinically depressed and is currently receiving individual therapy, or (b) no diagnostic suggestion. After reading the autobiography, participants rated the level of depression of the writer and wrote down any important items of information from the autobiography they could recall. A three week follow-up session repeating the rating of depression and recall was conducted. Results showed that giving no diagnostic information for the depressed person had no effect on recall of depression-consistent recall memories of the person. However, diagnostic suggestion of depression for the nondepressed person was effective in increasing depression-consistent clinical judgment and recall memories. Implications for counseling are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-46
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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