Fun fact: in medical school, we had a mini-lesson on common cognitive errors in medicine

by ancientcampus 1 min read4th Oct 201211 comments


Yesterday in medical school, we had a lecture on common mistakes doctors make. I saw this slide:

Attribution Errors

Confirmation Bias

Commission Bias

Omission Bias


-which made me smile, and thought I'd share. I'm interested in Emergency Medicine, and I realize that some of these are a real problem in that field. I.e. I know one doctor who had a typical Friday night - most of the patients are super drunk. One 30-year-old girl comes in disoriented, off-balance, with slurred speech. They suggest she sleep it off. Unfortunately, this particular patient was having a stroke, and died. So yeah. Avoiding biases.

(If anyone cares - Anchoring is basically the bias towards your first guess, or in this case, diagnosis, aka "we change our minds less likely than we think". Commission and Omission bias are, in this case, the tendency to act (in order to help) when you perhaps shouldn't, and the the tendency to inaction (to avoid harm) when you should act, respectively.)