Debiasing Health-Related Judgments and Decision Making: A Systematic Review

Medical Decision Making : an International Journal of the Society for Medical Decision Making
Ramona Ludolph, Peter J Schulz


Being confronted with uncertainty in the context of health-related judgments and decision making can give rise to the occurrence of systematic biases. These biases may detrimentally affect lay persons and health experts alike. Debiasing aims at mitigating these negative effects by eliminating or reducing the biases. However, little is known about its effectiveness. This study seeks to systematically review the research on health-related debiasing to identify new opportunities and challenges for successful debiasing strategies. A systematic search resulted in 2748 abstracts eligible for screening. Sixty-eight articles reporting 87 relevant studies met the predefined inclusion criteria and were categorized and analyzed with regard to content and quality. All steps were undertaken independently by 2 reviewers, and inconsistencies were resolved through discussion. The majority of debiasing interventions ( n = 60) was at least partially successful. Optimistic biases ( n = 25), framing effects ( n = 14), and base rate neglects ( n = 10) were the main targets of debiasing efforts. Cognitive strategies ( n = 36) such as "consider-the-opposite" and technological interventions ( n = 33) such as visual aids were mainly tested. Thirteen st...Continue Reading


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