Cracking the mould


While Archimedes does, not infrequently, get all concerned about invasive fungal infections, this post is not of the issue of beta-D-glucan testing, or problems of azole interactions. Instead, its a swipe at the problem of how, given a transparent system of asking questions, acquiring information, and appraising the evidence we can come to such differences when we get to applying this. Why do we find it so tricky to break our clinical practice mould? 

Well, it may be just something entrenched deeply in our psychological make up as humans. A fascinating read is provided by “ Biases in the interpretation and use of research results.”  which details studies giving groups of politically partisan university students contradictory articles, flawed in identical ways, and finding the interpretation of the evidence was almost always to strengthen their initial positions. The interviews and comments reflected how, despite academic training, people found favour in the methodology which supported their views.

This supports our observations of how two people can look at the same data and see the opposite conclusion, and we can use it to hold fast to the ideas of a framework of critical appraisal that can objectively demonstrate risks of bias. Sadly, it doesn’t quite get as far as managing to help us see beyond the mould we work in … but perhaps acknowledging the mental furrows we work in is the first step to moving beyond them?

Reference: RJ MacCoun. Biases in the interpretation and use of research results. Annu Rev Psychol
1998: 49; 259-87.

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