Heuristics in medicine:

How cognitive biases influence decision making and diagnosis


  • Heather Gillespie author




autism, adult diagnosis, clinician bias, heuristics, ASD


Heuristics, or mental shortcuts, are used by everyone to make decision making easier and quicker in daily life. In jobs such as medicine, however, using heuristics can lead to biased decision making and, in turn, misdiagnosis of patients. Doctors are not immune to being biased, or stereotyping. In fact, many healthcare professions have implicit bias training to try and minimize this. Knowledge about one’s own bias can make a difference short term, but the person will be thinking more about whether they are being biased and less on how they can solve the problem in front of them. Bias is, unfortunately, something that must be acknowledged in all corners of society. So, how do we accommodate our biases to get the best results — knowing that we will fall back on heuristics and stereotyping?


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How to Cite

Gillespie, H. (2023). Heuristics in medicine:: How cognitive biases influence decision making and diagnosis . Canadian Journal of Autism Equity, 3(1), 37–41. https://doi.org/10.15173/cjae.v3i1.5075