Diagnostic errors are hot these days. this subject is of importance for patient safety and as such attention on this subject has increased. Previously I wrote about a diagnostic error, the availability bias. There are many more possible cognitive diagnostic errors to be made by physicians. Some diagnostic errors are more common in psychiatry.
Fundamental attribution error: the tendency to be judgmental and blame patients for their illnesses (dispositional causes) rather than examine the circumstances (situational factors) that might have been responsible. In particular, psychiatric patients, minorities, and other marginalized groups tend to suffer from this Cognitive Dispositions to Respond. Cultural differences exist in terms of the respective weights attributed to dispositional and situational causes.
Psych-out error : psychiatric patients appear to be particularly vulnerable to the Cognitive Dispositions to Respond described in this list and to other errors in their management, some of which may exacerbate their condition. They appear especially vulnerable to fundamental attribution error. In particular, comorbid medical conditions may be overlooked or minimized. A variant of psych-out error occurs when serious medical conditions (e.g., hypoxia, delirium, metabolic abnormalities, CNS infections, head injury) are misdiagnosed as psychiatric conditions.
Other cognitive diagnostic errors can also be present in psychiatry but these two are very recognizable, what do you think?
More cognitive diagnostic errors can be found in the excellent article of which these two come from.
Croskerry, P. (2003). The Importance of Cognitive Errors in Diagnosis and Strategies to Minimize Them Academic Medicine, 78 (8), 775-780 DOI: 10.1097/00001888-200308000-00003