Views & Reviews From the Frontline

Herd mentality

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 14 September 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d5820
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}

Until 2008 the mantra was, “You can’t lose on housing.” Everybody became a property developer. The chatter was always “location, location, location.” House prices kept rising. Remortgaging to release capital for cars, holidays, and school fees was common. But did it make sense that house values could double in a short period? Economics is behavioural; we follow the herd. Our vested interests in the rise blinded us to this asset bubble.

James Penston’s book Stats.con: How We’ve Been Fooled by Statistics-Based Research in Medicine challenges the numbers in current …

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