• The grass is always greener: a neuroscience illusion

    Why do we think the grass is always greener?

    This nearly irresistible human experience is rooted in the focusing illusion.

    The focusing illusion describes how humans make judgments. Generally, we focus on a subset of data instead of all possible data (this may be due to priming or anchoring on a particular subset of data, as happens in marketing, or could be due to the fact that most people’s working memory capacity can only hold about 3-5 data points at a time). We then give that data more weight than it otherwise deserves. In particular…

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  • The Powerball Jackpot is $1.4 Billion – Is it Irrational to Play?

    Did you buy a Powerball Lottery ticket? With a jackpot of 1.4 billion dollars for tomorrow’s Powerball Lottery drawing, record numbers of people are frenetically purchasing record numbers of tickets. For some, it is mere entertainment – an insignificant amount of income spent on an intangible pleasure, not much different from reading a novel. For others, it represents a bad investment and a completely irrational allocation of much-needed money. Evolution is not helping us. Here are a few of the hard-wired cognitive tendencies that keep the lottery alive and well:

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  • The $500 Popsicle: Perceived Value and Commission Bias

    A toddler falls face-first onto an iron table, bleeding profusely. Mom takes the baby to the emergency room. After her child was evaluated, it was determined that no serious injury was sustained, no further intervention was needed, and the toddler was discharged home with some wound care instructions and a popsicle. When the mother subsequently received a bill from the ER, she remarked, “That was one pricey popsicle.”

    But deciding to “do nothing” IS doing something – something that requires a high level of medical expertise…

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  • Why Healthcare Institutions Should Be On Social Media: The Best Defense is a Good Offense

    By Marjorie Stiegler on December 15, 2015 in Leadership, Social Media

    It is said that the best defense is a good offense.
    This is certainly true when it comes to online reputation for doctors and healthcare organizations.
    Just one unfavorable headline or review can do tremendous damage, even when it is totally false. More bad news – you probably cannot get those reviews removed. Just about anyone can say just about anything about you and your group online. So-called “reputation repair” services cost thousands of dollars (sometimes tens of thousands!) every month to mitigate these serious problems. But a small investment of your own time can prevent nightmares like this…

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  • What if Doctors and Nurses Could Support Each Other?

    Hostility among healthcare professionals seems to be escalating among physicians and nurses alike about pretty much everyone else in the hospital. Emergency medicine physicians are “GTNs” – glorified triage nurses. (Wait – are we insulting ER dos or triage nurses here?) Surgeons are “often wrong, but never in doubt!” Some guy in an elevator told me that the “ABCs” for anesthesiologists – referring to the life support mantra of “Airway, Breathing, Circulation” – are “Airway, Bagel, Coffee”. And who knows the difference between an optometrist, optician, and ophthalmologist anyway? The ICU nurses’ station displayed a cartoon portraying medical residents as babies dressed in diapers, sucking on pacifiers, their stethoscopes training behind them on the floor like a security blanket. I’m not sure why these insults are so pervasively embraced and tolerated in healthcare culture, but it is disheartening…

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  • You Should Ditch Emotional Authenticity

    Your quest for authenticity is holding you back. Neuroscience shows that the secret to happiness is actually to abandon how you really feel, and try these techniques instead.

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  • 21 Ways Doctors Can Use Social Media

    Yesterday, I gave a quick digital strategy update to my group, and inadvertently sabotaged* the rest of my academic day fielding questions from colleagues:

    “Why should we bother with social media? Who has the time? Isn’t it risky? What if I do something wrong and it lives forever on the internet…”

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