[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
April 1965

Systematic Observation in Clinical Psychology

Author Affiliations

From the Littlemore Hospital. Research Psychologist, Park Hospital for Children, Oxford (Corinne Hutt) and Registrar in Psychiatry, Littlemore Hospital( Dr. Coxon).
Reprint requests to Park Hospital for Children, Oxford, England (Corinne Hutt).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1965;12(4):374-378. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1965.01720340046007

AT PRESENT the primary role of psychologists working in the clinical field is that of technical ancillary concerned with the application of standardized psychological tests. The usefulness of such tests has several limitations. Without a minimal degree of cooperation on the part of the patient it may not be possible to apply psychological tests at all. Scores obtained on most psychiatric tests can be influenced by many peripheral factors whose cumulative effect may be considerable. Furthermore, a limitation of the cognitive test is that it is a gross measure of performance, on which identical scores may be obtained by patients with different disabilities. For example, performance on the arithmetic subtest of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) may be impaired because the patient (a) does not know the answer, (b) is retarded and hence is unable to give the answer within the