16/11/2009

Around the Blogs, Vol. 34

1. Brilliant marketing idea and/or animal cruelty? (Video)

2. A guide to premature "best 2000-2009" music lists around the web.

3. Andrew Gelman vs. the median voter theorem: One, two.

4. Does doctors' (perceived) empathy have healing effects?

7 comments:

jaltcoh said...

Thanks for the indirect link! (#2)

pj said...

That doctor one is interesting but you have to note that they report the result of 'perceived' attentiveness but not whether the doctors were trying to be attentive or not. Claiming to have controlled for self-perceived sickness doesn't get out of the objection that sicker people might perceive their doctor as more attentive.

This topic interests me because people with trivial self-limiting 'illness' make up quite a large proportion of my time, and it is really quite difficult to deal with these people, to be empathetic and attentive, because they are paradoxically some of the most demanding patients.

LemmusLemmus said...

"Claiming to have controlled for self-perceived sickness doesn't get out of the objection that sicker people might perceive their doctor as more attentive."

Yes, but wouldn't we expect that to bias the results in the other direction - to lead to a conservative estimate of the link between perceived empathy and time to recovery?

pj said...

Self-perceived sickness may have no-correlation with actual sickness - as I imply above.

LemmusLemmus said...

If reported (self-perceived) sickness shows no correlation with actual sickness, controlling for it doesn't change anything. If people that are actually sicker perceive their doctor as more attentive, in the absence of any real effect, we should expect a positive correlation between doctor's perceived attentiveness and time to recovery.

No?

pj said...

If there is a correlation between actual sickness and perceived attentiveness there should be a correlation between attentiveness and time to recovery yes, and in this case it would have to be that actually sicker people perceive their doctors as less attentive (I'm sure we can make up a just-so story as to why this might be).

But what we have no idea about is whether any objective measure of attentiveness has any impact on time to recovery since they haven't reported the results - which is pretty odd.

Of course 'time to recovery' is a subjective thing in its own right and thus could be easily influenced by perception.

LemmusLemmus said...

Yes, the odd thing about how the results are reported in the link (have not read the paper) is that the obvious thing would have been to show experimental vs. control treatment. The absence of these results suggests null findings. (The reason given doesn't make sense to me, although it may well be that I am missing something.) Also, comparing the "perfect empathy score" to all others reeks of multiple unreported comparisons.

File under "suggestive".