Department of Psychology

Study challenges perception that empathy erodes during medical school

The relationship between a doctor and patient relies heavily on the physician’s capacity to empathize with or be sensitive to a patient’s emotional state. Empathy has been associated with patients’ increased adherence to treatment, fewer malpractice complaints, improved patient satisfaction and favorable health outcomes. Some studies have documented troubling declines in empathy during medical training—the steepest of which are believed to occur between the second and third years of medical...

Scholars take aim at false positives in research

A single change to a century-old statistical standard would dramatically improve the quality of research in many scientific fields, shrinking the number of so-called false positives, according to a commentary published Sept. 1 in Nature Human Behaviour. The argument, co-authored by University of Chicago economist John List, represents the consensus of 72 scholars from institutions throughout the world and disciplines ranging from neurobiology to philosophy. Their recommendations could have a...

Communicating in a foreign language takes emotion out of decision-making

If you could save the lives of five people by pushing another bystander in front of a train to his death, would you do it? And should it make any difference if that choice is presented in a language you speak, but isn’t your native tongue? Psychologists at the University of Chicago found in past research that people facing such a dilemma while communicating in a foreign language are far more willing to sacrifice the bystander than those using their native tongue. In a paper published Aug. 14 in...