Comparative Risk: Good or Bad Heuristic?

American Journal of Bioethics 16 (5):20-22 (2016)
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Some experts have argued that patients facing certain types of choices should not be told whether their risk is above or below average, because this information may trigger a bias (Fagerlin et al. 2007). But careful consideration shows that the comparative risk heuristic can usefully guide decisions and improve their quality or rationality. Building on an earlier paper of mine (Schwartz 2009), I will argue here that doctors and decision aids should provide comparative risk information to patients, even while further research is conducted.
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