Medical Tests with Less Fear

Many People Shy away from Diagnostic Examinations because They Are Afraid of the Result – Researchers Want to Reduce Fear with Alternative Test Methods
Probenahme im Labor (Foto: Patrick Langer, KIT)
Many people shy away from diagnostic tests. Pool samples might reduce fear. (Photo: Patrick Langer, KIT)
Nora Szech ( (Foto: Manuel Balzer, KIT)
At the laboratory, Nora Szech studies how people make decisions. (Photo: Manuel Balzer, KIT)

It is a principle of modern architecture that less may be more. This principle does not apply to information as a basis of far-reaching decisions, it seems. But: Many people shy away from going to the doctor’s, because they are afraid of unpleasant truths, such as the diagnosis of a disease. Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and Tilburg University, Netherlands, have developed a method to overcome this fear, which is reported in the journal Management Science.

“It is a fundamental assumption in economics that decision-makers welcome information. The more knowledge they have, the better it is,” Nora Szech, holder of the Chair of Political Economy, explains. “If the decision is of fundamental importance to one’s own life, however, this is not always true,” the economist continues. As an example, she mentions patients that may possibly be affected by a serious disease. “They often shy away from the diagnostic test.” To solve this problem, Szech has developed a method that provides the patients with an alternative to the often feared precise tests.

Full text: Press Release 026/2018

mex, 13.03.2018