By Evan Falchuk
Bill Gates once said:
Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.
It’s clever, and it seems right. Now there is science to prove it.
In a study published last week, scientists studied special imaging scans of doctors brains as they made simulated medical decisions. Those doctors who paid attention to their mistakes made better decisions than those who were more interested in their successes:
“These findings underscore the dangers of disregarding past failures when making high-stakes decisions,” Montague said in a statement. “‘Success-chasing’ not only can lead doctors to make flawed decisions in diagnosing and treating patients, but it can also distort the thinking of other high-stakes decision-makers, such as military and political strategists, stock market investors and venture capitalists.”
This is just the latest proof of how important it is to interrupt your doctor’s decision-making process. Leading researchers in the field of medical decision-making have emphasized how easy it is for “overconfidence” to get in the way. Doctors are neither immune to disease nor the pitfalls of decision-making that plague the rest of us.