Clinicians make a variety of assessments about their clients, from judging personality traits to making diagnoses, and a variety of methods are available to do so, ranging from observations to structured interviews. A large body of work demonstrates that from a brief glimpse of another's nonverbal behavior, a variety of traits and inner states can be accurately perceived. Additionally, from these "thin slices" of behavior, even future outcomes can be predicted with some accuracy. Certain clinical disorders such as Parkinson's disease and facial paralysis disrupt nonverbal behavior and may impair clinicians' ability to make accurate judgments. In certain contexts, personality disorders, anxiety, depression, and suicide attempts and outcomes can be detected from others' nonverbal behavior. Additionally, thin slices can predict psychological adjustment to divorce, bereavement, sexual abuse, and well-being throughout life. Thus, for certain traits and disorders, judgments from a thin slice could provide a complementary tool for the clinician's toolbox.
Slepian, Michael, K.R. Bogart, and N. Ambady. "Thin-slice judgments in the clinical context." Annual Review of Clinical Psychology 10 (March 2014): 131-153.
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