Five pitfalls in decisions about diagnosis and prescribingBMJ 2005; 330 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7494.781 (Published 31 March 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:781
The extent to which people are overconfident can be shown by asking them to guess 10 different quantities which they probably do not actually know, but might be able to make a guess at, and to place a low and high limit to each guess such that they are right 90% of the time. For example, try to guess the total surface area of the Mediterranean Sea, and put a 90% confidence interval around your guess (answer is at bottom of page). In theory, 9 out of 10 such guesses should include the true value in the confidence interval. In practice, however, most people only score 3–6 out of a series of 10 similar questions. This shows that there is a tendency for people to overestimate their confidence in their own knowledge.
w9. Passik SD, Weinreb HJ. Managing chronic nonmalignant pain: overcoming obstacles to the use of opioids. Adv Ther 2000;17:70-83
w10. Devulder J. Persisting misconceptions of Belgian physicians and nurses about cancer pain treatment. Acta Clin Belg 1999;54:346-350
Answer: The total surface area of the Mediterranean Sea is 2 510 000 km2 or 970 000 square miles.
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