My side bias; The filter bubble;

Mark Gusack gusackm at COMCAST.NET
Tue Mar 7 05:10:25 UTC 2017

I just finished reading the first article in the New Yorker.  What I have found in my varied experience is that:

People internalize concepts and knowledge in a manner that causes it to, in part, define their own sense of self worth.  That is, they cannot separate their own self image from external information and potentially wrong ideas.  The result is a predictably irrational response to any challenge to it.

People tend not to separate belief - having faith in the truthfulness of something that cannot be verified via direct observation - from the concept of science which is to question everything, everyone, and, most importantly, their own beliefs.

People tend to value interpersonal relationships more highly than the truth for many reasons - power, money, status, and simple acceptance by others.  So, we act in accordance, ignoring or suppressing that which is not acceptable to the group.  In fact, I have a book in my rather large library on medical history and philosophy written by T. Swann Harding way back in 1931 titled: Fads, Frauds, and Physicians'.  Despite our highly educated and trained minds, we tend to flock like birds just like the rest of society.

So, in the end, the challenge of Reducing Diagnostic Error in Medicine is more than just finding new methods.  Its changing a deeply ingrained tendency that often leads us astray both as individuals looking at our patients and as a profession looking at our state of understanding.

Everyone have a nice week.

Mark Gusack

On 3/6/2017 11:36:37 AM, Mark Graber <mark.graber at> wrote:
Two recent news articles of interest, both expanding on the ‘my side’ bias theme.  The New Yorker article has a LOVELY painting that presents a visual rendering of the ‘anchoring’ heuristic !  (You can only see it from the link, not on the downloaded version). []
This article from the Times introduces the concept of the ‘filter bubble’: []
Mark L Graber MD FACP
President, SIDM
Senior Fellow, RTI International
Professor Emeritus, Stony Brook University

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

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