INBETA updated

August newsletter

Hi there,

This is our monthly selection of things that we found interesting. You can find previous editions here: June and July.


Revisiting dual process theory

In this episode of the IM Reasoning podcast, the hosts discuss Norman et al's The Causes of Errors in Clinical Reasoning: Cognitive Biases, Knowledge Deficits, and Dual Process Thinking.

Do all diagnostic errors occur because we’re rushing, and prematurely jumping to conclusions? Can we course-correct by simply slowing down and by being mindful of our own inherent biases?

You may be interested in pairing this conversation with an podcast we shared in our first newsletter, where Daniel Kahneman talks about how easily we're trapped in our own cognitive biases. Towards the end of this episode the hosts discuss deliberate reflection as a way to deal with some of the inherent errors we make in the reasoning process. The key is for the reflection to be deliberate, or intentional, rather than instrumental, which is explored nicely in the following article.

Link to the podcast:


The reflective zombie

De la Croix, A., & Veen, M. (2018). The reflective zombie: Problematizing the conceptual framework of reflection in medical education. Perspectives on Medical Education, 7(6), 394–400.

In this article the authors challenge the way that reflection is taught and researched in health professions education. They argue that we tend to prioritise an instrumentalised approach to teaching and subsequently asses reflection through standardised cycles and processes. This risks producing reflective zombies with "...outer traits which look like reflection [but which] do not necessarily point to authentic inner reflection".

There are no simple solutions proposed in the paper and indeed it is more a call to embrace the messy, myriad forms and complex nature of genuine reflection.
"...teaching should be focused on creating conditions that foster reflection, rather than trying to teach directly ‘how to reflect’".

You might want to explore the overlap of one of the proposals in the paper to increase the role of arts and humanities as a way of catalysing reflection via an earlier conversation we had with Carmen Caiero, on the role of narrative reasoning in physiotherapy education.

Link to the article:

Via Joost van Wijchen (@jowi12)


What's college good for?

Caplan, B. (2018). The World Might Be Better Off Without College for Everyone. The Atlantic.

The conventional view—that education pays because students learn—assumes that the typical student acquires, and retains, a lot of knowledge. She doesn’t. Teachers often lament summer learning loss: Students know less at the end of summer than they did at the beginning. But summer learning loss is only a special case of the problem of fade-out: Human beings have trouble retaining knowledge they rarely use.

Bryan Caplan makes a good case for why spending 3-4 years in college may not be a good idea. In addition to the massive debt that students accumulate during their studies, there's evidence that the reason college graduates can demand a 25% salary premium isn't because of what they learned; it's because of the signal that graduating sends potential employers.
Why are schools about sorting who can and who can’t? Making visible the failings of children? Can we have a more democratic mission? Of creativity, problem solving & curiosity?
Ray McDermott
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Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

- Ben and Michael