Cognitive Biases and Young People’s Pain Experiences: What do we know and where to go next?

Many children and teenagers are affected by chronic pain, which can negatively impact their day-to-day activities, how they feel, and their likelihood of future health problems[1,2,3,4]. Psychological therapies are effective at treating pain and related disability across pain conditions in young people, but there is lots of room for improving their … [Read more...]

Skewed inspection and malleable hypotheses

Science isn’t perfect and research findings often stray from the truth [1]. Researchers miss the bullseye for a number of reasons, but one explanation might be that we let our intuitions give way to cognitive biases. Below, I’ve summarised a news article in Nature [3] that touches on why even the most rigorous thinkers are influenced by … [Read more...]

All cognition is flawed

Clinicians, like with researchers, can fall prey to potential cognitive bias (Kleinmuntz 1990). It lurks within our minds without us being aware of it, and can present itself in everyday life as a stereotype or an assumption. As clinicians though, the cognitive biases that we have, impact two common things we are required to do; diagnose a problem … [Read more...]

What is Cognitive Bias?

As Bill Nighy would say, “Cognitive bias is all around us”. Every time you make a decision that involves any element of human judgement, cognitive bias is introduced. While cognitive bias itself is not bad or evil, a failure to acknowledge cognitive bias is a failure to acknowledge the limits of human intuition. Cognitive bias is what makes us … [Read more...]

Race, bias, and ambiguity – Toward a better understanding of pain treatment disparities

Poor pain care is an unfortunate reality for many patients, especially those belonging to racial minorities. Many factors have been proposed to explain pain-related racial disparities, but precious few studies have actually tested these hypotheses. My research group recently published a paper that aimed to better understand how provider racial bias … [Read more...]

Paul the Psychic Octopus: A watery lesson in understanding clinical evidence

So the World Cup justifiably goes to Spain and it seems that Paul, the now world famous psychic octopus, predicted the results.  In fact Paul demonstrated a seemingly legendary clairvoyant ability.  Wikipedia informs us that he predicted the outcome of all of Germany’s games and the final with unerring accuracy. You may not have realised it (which … [Read more...]