Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Surgery & Cancer

Reader in Medical Decision Making







5.07Medical SchoolSt Mary's Campus





Olga is a psychologist studying judgement and decision making. Her main focus is the application of psychology theory, evidence and experimental methods to the study of medical decisions. She has conducted research on professional judgement and decision making in a variety of healthcare contexts, including dentistry, neonatal and adult intensive care, and primary care. As Principal Investigator and Co-investigator, she has obtained funding from the Department of Health, Cancer Research UK, and the European Commission for studies in diagnostic error, decision support, and referral decision making. 

She has served as elected Trustee (2013-2016) on the Board of the Society for Medical Decision Making (; organised and chaired the 16th biennial European SMDM meeting (London, 12-14 June, 2016); and is Associate Editor of the journal Medical Decision Making.

 current & recent research grants:

1. Cancer Research UK project award: "Investigating delays in the detection of early cancers: an exploration of GPs' decision making based on Signal Detection Theory". Amount awarded: £308,944. From March 2016 to February 2019.

Olga Kostopoulou (PI). Co-investigators: Brendan Delaney, Francesca Fiorentino. Researchers: Simona Cantarella, Martine Nurek. PhD student: Danny Furnival. 

2. Cancer Research UK project award: "An investigation of the cognitive factors for missing early presentations of cancer in primary care". Amount awarded: £330,772. From September 2011 to December 2015.

Olga Kostopoulou (PI). Co-investigator: Brendan Delaney. Researchers: Miroslav Sirota, Thomas Round, Shyamalee Samaranayaka. 

3. EU FP7 programme grant: Translational Research and Patient Safety in Europe (TRANSFoRm)- Scientific co-ordinator: Brendan Delaney. From March 2010 to May 2015

Olga Kostopoulou (PI of Work Package 2: "Developing diagnostic support for primary care"). Researchers: Andrea Rosen, Thomas Round, Talya Porat. Amount allocated to WP2: €594,554

PhD students:

1. Ploutarchos Kourtidis. Started: 1/10/17.

2. Daniel Furnivall: "The economics of cancer referral in primary care". Funding: Cancer Research UK project award to Olga Kostopoulou ("Investigating delays..."). Started: 1/2/2017.

Past students:

1. Martine Nurek. "Predecisional information distortion in physicians' diagnostic judgements". Funding: LISS-DTP (London Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Training Programme - ESRC). PhD awarded 2017.

2. Amanda Woolley. "Clinical Intuition in General Practice: A Cognitive Psychology Perspective". Funding: Departmental doctoral grant. PhD awarded 2015.

Visiting researcherS: 

Dafina Petrova (Mind, Brain, & Behavior Research Center, University of Granada, Spain) - September to December 2015 

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Kostopoulou O, Porat T, Corrigan D, et al., 2017, Diagnostic accuracy of GPs when using an early-intervention decision support system: a high-fidelity simulation, British Journal of General Practice, Vol:67, ISSN:0960-1643, Pages:E201-E208

Kostopoulou O, Sirota M, Round T, et al., 2017, The Role of Physicians' First Impressions in the Diagnosis of Possible Cancers without Alarm Symptoms, Medical Decision Making, Vol:37, ISSN:0272-989X, Pages:9-16

Kostopoulou O, Mousoulis C, Delaney B, 2009, Information search and information distortion in the diagnosis of an ambiguous presentation, Judgment and Decision Making, Vol:4, ISSN:1930-2975, Pages:408-419

Nurek M, Kostopoulou O, Hagmayer Y, 2014, Predecisional information distortion in physicians' diagnostic judgments: Strengthening a leading hypothesis or weakening its competitor?, Judgment and Decision Making, Vol:9, ISSN:1930-2975, Pages:572-585

Kostopoulou O, Russo JE, Keenan G, et al., 2012, Information Distortion in Physicians' Diagnostic Judgments, Medical Decision Making, Vol:32, ISSN:0272-989X, Pages:831-839

Kostopoulou O, Rosen A, Round T, et al., 2015, Early diagnostic suggestions improve accuracy of GPs: a randomised controlled trial using computer-simulated patients, British Journal of General Practice, Vol:65, ISSN:0960-1643, Pages:E49-E54

Vadillo MA, Kostopoulou O, Shanks DR, 2015, A critical review and meta-analysis of the unconscious thought effect in medical decision making, Frontiers in Psychology, Vol:6, ISSN:1664-1078

Woolley A, Kostopoulou O, Delaney BC, 2016, Can Medical Diagnosis Benefit from "Unconscious Thought"?, Medical Decision Making, Vol:36, ISSN:0272-989X, Pages:541-549

Kostopoulou O, Lionis C, Angelaki A, et al., 2015, Early diagnostic suggestions improve accuracy of family physicians: a randomized controlled trial in Greece, Family Practice, Vol:32, ISSN:0263-2136, Pages:323-328

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