Errors in Surgical Neuropathology and the Influence of Cognitive Biases

McLendon, Roger E.
May 2006
Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine;May2006, Vol. 130 Issue 5, p613
Academic Journal
Context.—A significant difficulty that pathologists encounter in arriving at a correct diagnosis is related to the way information from various sources is processed and assimilated in context. Objective.—These issues are addressed by the science of cognitive psychology. Although cognitive biases are the focus of a number of studies on medical decision making, few if any focus on the visual sciences. Data Sources.—A recent publication authored by Richards Heuer, Jr, The Psychology of Intelligence Analysis, directly addresses many of the cognitive biases faced by neuropathologists and anatomic pathologists in general. These biases include visual anticipation, first impression, and established mindsets and subconsciously influence our critical decision-making processes. Conclusions.—The book points out that while biases are an inherent property of cognition, the influence of such biases can be recognized and the effects blunted.


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