Monday, June 15, 2009

The Heart of the Matter

A new study from Britain shows that more than half of the people surveyed could not accurately locate on a diagram the position of the human heart.

The study, published in the journal BMC Family Practice, showed there has been little improvement in anatomical knowledge since a similar study was performed in the 1970s.

This should come as no surprise, at least to readers of this blog. Overconfidence is a prime (though often well-camouflaged) culprit behind many of our mistakes. We often overestimate the precision of what we (and others) know. And this overestimation can lead to problems, especially when it comes to our health. One study conducted in the U.S. in 2007, for instance, found that doctors overestimate patient literacy, and that the lack of patient knowledge leads to poorer care.

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