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The language of likelihood in genetic counselling discourse

Sarangi, Srikant Kumar 2002. The language of likelihood in genetic counselling discourse. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 21 (1) , pp. 7-31. 10.1177/0261927X02021001002

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This article examines how genetic counselors and clients jointly negotiate possible scenarios (e.g., inheritability, desirability of predictive tests, uncertainty about late onsets) based on available evidence (e.g., family tree, scan results,and population risk figures).Based on an analytic philosophical perspective, two potential meanings of probability can be identified: the degree of commitment and the notion of range/normalcy. These two levels of meaning become conflated in the formulation of probability as signalled in the use of hedging, disclaimers, and markers of frequency and distribution.The analysis focuses on how indirect evidence and inductive inferencing are systematically recruited by geneticists in the production of probability statements as they strive to maintain a nondirective stance.The data are drawn from two clinical sessions where the geneticists are fairly confident of “no-risk� scenarios, and yet, the discussion centers around the (un)likelihood of the genetic condition being inherited by future generations.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
Publisher: Sage
ISSN: 0261-927X
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 01:51

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