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Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, technology, health care, and philosophy

Monday, May 5, 2014

In Medical Decisions, Dread Is Worse Than Fear

Procrastination, on the other hand, may not be so bad.

By Gabriella Rosen Kellerman
The Atlantic
Originally published April 15, 2014

Here is an excerpt:

One of the solutions Rosenberg proposed was “interventions aimed at improving risk communication.” Meaning that, perhaps if healthcare providers can help patients more rationally assess the risks for now versus later, they can help them avoid unnecessary suffering. To do so, providers will have to help patients address the assumptions that enable get-it-out-of-the-way decision-making.

What, for example, is the "it" in "get-it-out-of-the-way" thinking? The pain or consequence one wishes to avoid are often moving, even unknowable, targets. In pathological anxiety states, estimations of what “it” is are part of what goes awry. Patients with phobias consistently overestimate the degree of unpleasantness of a particular exposure.

The entire article is here.