Clinical Reasoning Toolkit - Cognitive Error
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Heuristics are mental shortcuts that allow people to solve problems and make judgments efficiently in everyday life. They dominate our day-to-day clinical reasoning and are practical and effective, but sometimes lead to cognitive errors in complex environments.

Quick Take: read "From Mindless to Mindful Practice – Cognitive Bias and Medical Decision Making” by Patrick Croskerry

Core resources (additional high-yield introductory information) are indicated by a STAR icon.


Croskerry P. From Mindless to Mindful Practice – Cognitive Bias and Medical Decision Making. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013.

A perspective on the role of cognitive errors in medical decision making.

Croskerry P. Achieving quality in clinical decision making: cognitive strategies and detection of bias. Academic Emergency Medicine. 2002.

Overview of clinical decision making models and a comprehensive summary of 30 cognitive biases.

Norman GR, Eva KW. Diagnostic error and clinical reasoning. Medical Education. 2010.

A review asserting that there is limited evidence that diagnostic errors arise from system 1 thinking or from cognitive biases.

Joan Von Feldt. Dual Process and Cognitive Bias in Clinical Decision Making

This presentation outlines the dual process model and cognitive errors.

CAEP Card with Biases

Two page PDF with a concise summary of 21 heuristics/biases.

Croskerry P. Diagnostic Failure: A Cognitive and Affective Approach. In: Henriksen K, Battles JB, Marks ES, Lewin DI, editors. Advances in Patient Safety: From Research to Implementation (Volume 2: Concepts and Methodology). Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2005 Feb.

This chapter reviews cognitive errors and outlines the ways that clinicians’ affective states (mood and emotions) can adversely affect decision making.

Affective Error Complete Bibliography

Human Factors Complete Bibliography

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