Motivated reasoning

Edward Hoffer ehoffer at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 18 12:10:28 UTC 2017


If you missed it, a link to the recent JAMA article on how asthma is
probably grossly over-diagnosed:
http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2598265

Edward Hoffer MD, FACP, FACC

On Sun, Jan 15, 2017 at 5:30 PM, Pat Croskerry <croskerry at eastlink.ca>
wrote:

> Hi Bill and Gerrit.
>
> I don’t see much difference between myside bias (‘… when people evaluate
> evidence, generate evidence, and test hypotheses in a manner biased toward
> their own prior opinions and attitudes - Stanovich et al, 2013), and
> confirmation bias (…the tendency to seek confirmation for opinions and
> beliefs already held and to ignore disconfirming evidence - Nickerson,
> 1998). Maybe myside bias is a bit more consciously deliberate, whereas with
> confirmation bias we tend not to be so aware? Motivated reasoning seems to
> be taking confirmation bias to a higher level (‘Motivated reasoning leads
> people to confirm what they already believe, while ignoring contrary data.
> But it also drives people to develop elaborate rationalizations to justify
> holding beliefs that logic and evidence have shown to be wrong. Motivated
> reasoning responds defensively to contrary evidence, actively discrediting
> such evidence or its source without logical or evidentiary justification.
> Clearly, motivated reasoning is emotion driven’ - Skeptics dictionary)
>
> As far as positive test strategy goes, I think it came down to a
> psychologist (Wason) using confirmation bias to explain the results of a
> study he had done looking at subject’s responses to finding a rule which
> applied to sets of numbers. He would give them a series of 3 numbers and
> they would have to guess what the rule was and he would tell them whether
> they were correct or not on successive tries. Their strategy appeared to be
> attempts to confirm the rule rather than to try to disprove the rule –
> hence Wason’s conclusion. However, other psychologists came along later and
> labelled it a Positive Test Strategy which they felt was aimed at a simpler
> approach – choose a strategy that has the biggest impact on your belief in
> your current hypothesis. This does appear to differ slightly from
> confirmation bias.
>
> As with most biases, there appear to be others that are doing the same
> thing, and any differences are fairly subtle e.g.  I sometimes get into
> discussions with students who can’t see a difference between search
> satisficing and premature closure – it is there.
>
> I think the important thing is to be aware that biases are there, whether
> we get their exact identity of not – Linnaeus might have disagreed!
>
>
>
> Pat
>
>
>
>
>
> *From:* Follansbee, William [mailto:follansbeewp at UPMC.EDU]
> *Sent:* January 15, 2017 2:41 PM
>
> *To:* IMPROVEDX at LIST.IMPROVEDIAGNOSIS.ORG
> *Subject:* Re: [IMPROVEDX] Motivated reasoning
>
>
>
> Hi Pat,
>
>
>
> I am wondering how myside bias is different from confirmation bias? They
> seem to be very similar.
>
>
>
> Best,
>
> Bill
>
>
>
> William P. Follansbee, M.D., FACC, FACP, FASNC
>
> The Master Clinician Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine
>
> Director, The UPMC Clinical Center for Medical Decision Making
>
> Suite A429 UPMC Presbyterian
>
> 200 Lothrop Street
>
> Pittsburgh, PA 15213
>
> Phone: 412-647-3437 <(412)%20647-3437>
>
> Fax: 412-647-3873 <(412)%20647-3873>
>
> Email: follansbeewp at upmc.edu
>
>
>
> [image: cid:image001.png at 01D1AF95.1368ACB0]
>
>
>
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>
> *From:* Pat Croskerry [mailto:croskerry at EASTLINK.CA
> <croskerry at EASTLINK.CA>]
> *Sent:* Friday, January 13, 2017 2:07 PM
> *To:* IMPROVEDX at LIST.IMPROVEDIAGNOSIS.ORG
> *Subject:* Re: [IMPROVEDX] Motivated reasoning
>
>
>
> The description of motivated reasoning looks very similar to that for
> myside bias (but doesn’t sound quite so derogatory).
>
> Myside bias is well described in the cognitive psychology literature, and
> its relevance to medicine is beginning to be felt.
>
> ______________________________________
>
> Pat Croskerry MD, PhD
>
> Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine,
>
> Director, Critical Thinking Program,
>
> Dalhousie University Medical School,
>
> Halifax, Nova Scotia
>
> CANADA
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> *From:* Mark Graber [mailto:graber.mark at GMAIL.COM <graber.mark at GMAIL.COM>]
>
> *Sent:* January 13, 2017 1:50 PM
> *To:* IMPROVEDX at LIST.IMPROVEDIAGNOSIS.ORG
> *Subject:* [IMPROVEDX] Motivated reasoning
>
>
>
> For those with an interest in cognitive psychology, this is a fascinating
> look at 'motivated reasoning'.  I'm not sure how much of this is relevant
> to decision-making in diagnosis, but it certainly helps explain the tension
> many of us feel in having a political discussion these days ;<)
>
>
>
> http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/more-evidence-for-motivated-
> reasoning/
>
>
>
> Mark L Graber, MD FACP
>
> President, SIDM
>
> Senior Fellow, RTI International
>
> Professor Emeritus, Stony Brook University, NY
>
>
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Moderator: David Meyers, Board Member, Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine


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