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Adv Med Educ Pract. 2018 Apr 10;9:235-237. doi: 10.2147/AMEP.S149558. eCollection 2018.

Cognitive bias in clinical practice - nurturing healthy skepticism among medical students.

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Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, UK.


Errors in clinical reasoning, known as cognitive biases, are implicated in a significant proportion of diagnostic errors. Despite this knowledge, little emphasis is currently placed on teaching cognitive psychology in the undergraduate medical curriculum. Understanding the origin of these biases and their impact on clinical decision making helps stimulate reflective practice. This article outlines some of the common types of cognitive biases encountered in the clinical setting as well as cognitive debiasing strategies. Medical educators should nurture healthy skepticism among medical students by raising awareness of cognitive biases and equipping them with robust tools to circumvent such biases. This will enable tomorrow's doctors to improve the quality of care delivered, thus optimizing patient outcomes.


clinical decision making; cognitive bias; diagnostic error

Conflict of interest statement

Disclosure The author reports no conflicts of interest in this work.

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