Over the past decades, the model of shared decision-making (SDM) has been increasingly promoted as the preferred standard of doctor-patient communication during medical consultation. Advocating a medical decision-making process in which doctor and patient are considered coequal discussion partners that should ideally negotiate their treatment preferences to ultimately arrive at a decision that is mutually shared, the model of SDM notably gives rise to the usage of argumentation medical consultation. Whereas traditionally doctors were able to rely merely on their medical authority (paternalism), today physicians are expected, and even mandated under the legal doctrine of informed consent, to advance arguments in support of their medical advice. In addition, patients are assumed to act as critical participants within the medical consultation, voicing their preferences and, if necessary, even challenging the doctor's viewpoints. In this project, we aim to explore the argumentative nature of doctor-patient consultation in practice. In particular, we are interested in the effect that presenting arguments in support of treatment advice may have on patients' recall and understanding of medical information, as well as patient' satisfaction and adherence. Conducting a series of studies, we will - among others - explore the role that argument positioning plays, as well as the usage of linguistic indicators of shared decision-making.
Nanon Labrie is a Ph.D. Student at the Institute of Communication and Health and focuses in her dissertation on the usage of argumentative strategies in doctor-patient communication. Seraphina Zurbriggen is a Post Doc with a background in experimental psychology. The content of her doctoral thesis was information search in the decision making process. Edoardo Madussi is a Master student in Communication, Management and Health at the Università della Svizzera italiana, working at the moment at the Institute of Communication and Health.