A doctor who believes strongly that antidepressants work better than "talk therapy" tests depressed patients by treating half of them with antidepressants and the other half with talk therapy. After six months the patients are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 indicating the greatest improvement.
a. The doctor is concerned that if his most severely depressed patients do not receive the antidepressants, they will get much worse. He therefore decides that the most severe patients will be assigned to receive the antidepressants. Explain why this will affect his ability to determine which approach works best.
b. What advice would you give the doctor to improve his study?
c. The doctor asks you whether it is acceptable for him to know which treatment each patient receives and to evaluate them himself at the end of the study to rate their improvement. Explain why this practice will affect his ability to determine which approach works best.
d. What improvements to the plan in part c would you recommend?