Mammography and decision making

A little history for the non-US readers: the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is an independent panel that reviews evidence and issues recommendations for preventive health care services. They are sponsored by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) but the panelists are physicians, nurses, and public health researchers employed by universities […]

Helping students unlock the mysteries of Bayes

I am continually impressed by the link between seeing and understanding. This should not be surprising. How often have we had the experience of being told by a student (or colleague) that “I just don’t see it” after our failed attempts to explain a complex concept. If there is a relationship between seeing and understanding […]

Decision psychology and swine flu

Behavioral economist (and 2009 President of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making) Dan Ariely appeared on NPR’s Marketplace to discuss reasons for the swine flu panic. Read or listen to the interview here. He focuses on the difference between the value of an identified life and a statistical life, as well as the impact […]

Making Veterinary Decisions

Many patients in many countries don’t pay the full cost of their medical care, which makes cost a less important factor in medical decision making, for both many patients and many physicians. On the other hand, nearly everyone pays the full cost of their veterinary care, and taking your pet to the vet is a […]

Symposia from SJDM/SMDM online

The 2008 annual meetings of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making (SJDM) and the Society for Medical Decision Making (SMDM) included a “symposium exchange”. A symposium by SJDM members was presented at SMDM 2008 (Pennsylvania, PA) and a symposium by SMDM members was presented at SJDM 2008 (Chicago, IL). At least one of the […]

GUT decision-making

I was recently at a workshop for National Science Foundation Principal Investigators focused on how to communicate research to the public and the media. One of the suggestions was to develop a three-word summary of the principle message of your research work. This is hard.

Vaccines and evidence has recently reviewed a new book by pediatrician Dr. Paul Offit on the anti-MMR (and anti-thimerisol) vaccine movement. Back in February this year, a friend of mine wrote to me that she was “on the fence” about vaccinating her infant. As she put it, “Whom are we to believe?…I’d be interested in anything compelling […]


Subjective confidence is usually thought of as the degree to which a person believes they are correct about a judgment and are willing to say so. Confidence can be important when there is no objective guide to accuracy; in these cases, decision makers will usually prefer to make the judgment in which they have the […]