SMDM CORE COURSE: INTRODUCTION TO THE PSYCHOLOGY OF MEDICAL DECISION MAKING
Course Level: Beginner
Overview: The course will cover: 1) problems with decision making, 2) how the environment we operate in affects our decisions, 3) the role of emotions in decision making, 4) ways to address decision making errors, and 5) practical applications of the lessons from decision psychology to medicine. Along the way we will cover cognitive heuristics and their resulting biases, our ability to describe our decision processes and to learn from experience, environmental constraints on judgment, strategies for debiasing, and individual differences in our susceptibility to bias.
Background: This course introduces participants to psychological theory and empirical research related to making decisions in health and medicine. The psychology of decision making can be used to understand patient and physician behavior and to design behavioral and environmental interventions to improve diagnoses and optimize decision making.
Format Requirements: The course involves presentation of information by lectures, demonstrations, and small and large group discussions. Attendees should expect to be actively involved in discussions of psychological phenomena as they relate to their clinical, teaching, or research interests. There are no prerequisites for this introductory course.
Description and Objectives:
- To understand patient and physician vulnerability to cognition-based errors.
- To understand the influence of the social, emotional, and informational environment upon health-related decisions.
- To develop approaches to support physician self-monitoring and improvement, as well as appropriate patient engagement in decision making, based on psychological theory.
Victoria A. Shaffer, PhD
University of Missouri
School of Health Professions; Department of Psychological Sciences