corner
Healthy Skepticism
Join us to help reduce harm from misleading health information.
Increase font size   Decrease font size   Print-friendly view   Print
Register Log in

Healthy Skepticism Library item: 2076

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.

 

Publication type: Journal Article

Elstein AS.
Heuristics and biases: selected errors in clinical reasoning.
Acad Med 1999 Jul; 74:(7):791-4


Abstract:

Many clinical decisions are made in uncertainty. When the diagnosis is uncertain, the goal is to establish a diagnosis or to treat even if the diagnosis remains unknown. If the diagnosis is known (e.g., breast cancer or prostate cancer) but the treatment is risky and its outcome uncertain, still a choice must be made. In researching the psychology of clinical judgment and decision making, the major strategy is to compare observed clinical judgments and decisions with the normative model established by statistical decision theory. In this framework, the process of diagnosing is conceptualized as using imperfect information to revise opinions; Bayes’ theorem is the formal rule for updating a diagnosis as new data are available. Treatment decisions should be made so as to maximize expected value. This essay uses Bayes’ theorem and concepts from decision theory to describe and explain some well-documented errors in clinical reasoning. Heuristics and biases are the cognitive factors that produce these errors.

Keywords:
MeSH Terms: Bayes Theorem Choice Behavior Cognition Comparative Study Decision Making* Decision Support Techniques Decision Theory Diagnosis Humans Judgment Mental Recall Risk Factors Therapeutics Treatment Outcome

 

  Healthy Skepticism on RSS   Healthy Skepticism on Facebook   Healthy Skepticism on Twitter

Please
Click to Register

(read more)

then
Click to Log in
for free access to more features of this website.

Forgot your username or password?

You are invited to
apply for membership
of Healthy Skepticism,
if you support our aims.

Pay a subscription

Support our work with a donation

Buy Healthy Skepticism T Shirts


If there is something you don't like, please tell us. If you like our work, please tell others.

Email a Friend








Far too large a section of the treatment of disease is to-day controlled by the big manufacturing pharmacists, who have enslaved us in a plausible pseudo-science...
The blind faith which some men have in medicines illustrates too often the greatest of all human capacities - the capacity for self deception...
Some one will say, Is this all your science has to tell us? Is this the outcome of decades of good clinical work, of patient study of the disease, of anxious trial in such good faith of so many drugs? Give us back the childlike trust of the fathers in antimony and in the lancet rather than this cold nihilism. Not at all! Let us accept the truth, however unpleasant it may be, and with the death rate staring us in the face, let us not be deceived with vain fancies...
we need a stern, iconoclastic spirit which leads, not to nihilism, but to an active skepticism - not the passive skepticism, born of despair, but the active skepticism born of a knowledge that recognizes its limitations and knows full well that only in this attitude of mind can true progress be made.
- William Osler 1909