Clinical versus statistical prediction: The contribution of Paul E. Meehl

William M. Grove

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The background of Paul E. Meehl's work on clinical versus statistical prediction is reviewed, with detailed analyses of his arguments. Meehl's four main contributions were the following: (a) he put the question, of whether clinical or statistical combinations of psychological data yielded better predictions, at center stage in applied psychology; (b) he convincingly argued, against an array of objections, that clinical versus statistical prediction was a real (not concocted) problem needing thorough study; (c) he meticulously and even-handedly dissected the logic of clinical inference from theoretical and probabilistic standpoints; and (c) he reviewed the studies available in 1954 and thereafter, which tested the validity of clinical versus statistical predictions. His early conclusion that the literature strongly favors statistical prediction has stood up extremely well, and his conceptual analyses of the prediction problem (especially his defense of applying aggregate-based probability statements to individual cases) have not been significantly improved since 1954.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1233-1243
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of clinical psychology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2005


  • Clinical prediction
  • Clinical psychology
  • Data combination
  • Data gathering
  • MMPI codebook
  • Paul E. Meehl
  • Statistical prediction, actuarial prediction

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