What magic can teach us about our brain

Mark Graber graber.mark at GMAIL.COM
Wed Sep 7 01:19:43 UTC 2016


There is a wonderful story in this weeks Boston Globe on …. magic!  

We know that ‘context’ problems are one of the most common cognitive factors that leads to diagnostic error.   The Rory Staunton story (missed diagnosis of Strep sepsis) illustrated this - his story of fever and vomiting led to a diagnosis of viral gastroenteritis because those symptoms suggested a GI context.  There may be no better way to study and understand context errors than to learn about magic tricks - the illusionist creates a context for us that we believe and trust, but that is never what’s really happening.  At the least, the very fact that these magic tricks are SO convincing should be ample proof of how easily we can be mislead.  Whatever is going here has got to be very similar to what happens in the diagnostic process when we misinterpret the context of a patient’s problems.  Pat Croskerry has a paper that emphasizes this point perfectly:  Context is everything. 

Mark

Mark L Graber MD FACP
President, SIDM







Moderator: David Meyers, Board Member, Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine


ATTACHMENT:
Name: What magic can teach us about our brains - The Boston Globe.pdf Type: application/pdf Size: 2144467 bytes Desc: not available URL: <../attachments/20160906/90a8a51f/attachment.pdf> ATTACHMENT:
Name: Croskerry - Context is everything.pdf Type: application/pdf Size: 289234 bytes Desc: not available URL: <../attachments/20160906/90a8a51f/attachment-0001.pdf> https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2016/09/01/magic/IYE084jKTpuA5mUHmF1xKP/story.html Moderator: David Meyers, Board Member, Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine


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