Dental Products Report - April 2011 - (Page 52)
The Invisible Gorilla
the atlanta center for dental Excellence reviews this 2010 book that may help you understand the importance of taking a closer look at your practice.
by D r .
B r e n t o n You n g
ThE INvISIbLE GORILLA AND OThER WAyS OUR INTUITIONS DECEIvE US
This book reveals the many ways our intuitions can deceive us. The authors explain why people succumb to these everyday illusions and what we can do about it. They combine the work of other researchers with their own ﬁndings on attention, perception, memory and reasoning to reveal how faulty intuitions often get people into trouble.
About the ACDe reviews The clinicians of the Atlanta Center for Dental Excellence (theacde.com) conduct independent, unbiased reviews of products and services based on actual ongoing use in an active practice. Evaluation criteria include overall quality, contribution to practice success and return on investment. In the ﬁve-star rating system, one star indicates a “poor” rating, and ﬁve stars indicate a rating of “excellent.”
o you know what you’re missing? You might be surprised. A friend forwarded an e-mail to me, sometime in 2002, with the subject line, “I don’t normally forward these, but you HAVE to see this.” I clicked on the link and started watching a video of two teams passing a basketball. The scrolling text below the video told me to count the passes made by the team in the white shirts, while ignoring the passes made by the team in the black shirts. I focused intently on the whiteshirted team. At the end of the video, the text asked if I’d counted 34 passes. Score one for me! I had in fact counted every pass. Then the text asked if I had seen the gorilla. I was sure it was a lame joke, certain there had been no gorilla, but I backed the video up and watched it a second time without counting passes. Sure enough, midway through the video, a person wearing a black gorilla costume walked to the middle of the court, stopped, beat his or her chest and then walked oﬀ. Total on-screen time: 9 seconds. I was incredulous. As a dentist, I believed my attention to detail was better than average. Surely this was some video sleight of hand and not a mistake on my part. But I had fallen into the trap of Harvard psychologists Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, who created the video to test selective attention. Their 1999 research showed 50% of people would miss the gorilla. They found no pattern in age, gender or education level to explain who saw it and who didn’t. What they did ﬁnd was people missed the gorilla speciﬁcally because they were not looking for anything
out of the ordinary. Our brains are wired to expect the expected, and as dentists we are trained to do the same. As the adage goes, “If you hear hoof beats in Georgia then you should expect a horse” rather than a zebra—or, in this case, a gorilla. Chabris and Simons dubbed the phenomenon “inattentional blindness.” In their 2010 book, The Invisible Gorilla and Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us, they build on that research, sharing some incredible examples of how our memory and attention are not completely reliable. We think we see the world as it is, but the authors tell us “our vivid visual experience belies a striking mental blindness.” This is not a bug in our software, so to speak, but rather an inherent limitation. Because the brain is a closed system, it has ﬁnite resources. We unconsciously allocate those resources, choosing what to “see” and what to ignore. This blindness can affect the dental practice as well. Feeling rushed and overly busy, we walk into a hygiene check, look at the bitewings and completely miss the decay. Similarly, a dentist who is completely focused on the practice’s “bottom line” numbers may overlook the fact that the entire oﬃce is not functioning at its best and is slowly coming apart at the seams. Chabris and Simons cite many examples of the limitations of our brains, but they do not propose a remedy for this blind spot in our attention. While each story is interesting, the book lacks an overarching story line to tie the vignettes together. Nevertheless, the f indings make us aware of our own limitations. We can
create processes to compensate for these blind spots and reduce error. Having your hygienists review bitewings and comparing their ﬁndings with your own is a good way to reduce the chances of missing an important ﬁnding. Periodic team sessions with a practice manager may help the dentist take a more global view of the practice, thereby raising team morale and increasing overall production. Such practices take into account the holes in our attention and close them to the gorillas that we can all miss.
★★★★ — 4 stars out of a possible 5.
The Benchmark column is written by the directors of the Atlanta Center for Dental Excellence, an alliance of practicing clinicians dedicated to progress in dentistry. The ACDE advises dental companies on product development and marketing, and provides PACE-approved high-level continuing education. To learn more, visit theacde.com, or contact Molly Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brenton Young, DDS, is co-author of A Survival Guide to Clinical Dentistry and has lectured at the UNC School of Dentistry and internationally. His work with the ACDE focuses on the impact that EQ (Emotional Quotient) has on a dentist’s success in the dental ofﬁce and in his or her personal life. Dr. Young is married with two college-age children and practices general dentistry in Shelby, North Carolina.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Dental Products Report - April 2011
Dental Products Report - April 2011
Table of Contents
From the Editor
Clicks & Picks
Ivoclar Vivadent’s Bluephase G2
Ultradent’s Opalescence Trèswhite Supreme 15%
Bisco’s DUO-LINK™ Composite Luting Cement
The Invisible Gorilla
Capture Prep Detail
Create a Stable C&B Platform
Think Like a CEO
Looking For a Few Good Co-Pilots
Communicating with Hygiene Patients
The Rx for Patient Commitment
Your Continuing Care Tool Box
Developing a Hygiene Philosophy of Care
Products in Practice
Not the Glass Ionomer You Remember
5 Reasons to Buy Sterillium Comfort Gel
5 Reasons to Buy Lightwalker™ Lasers
Dental Products Report - April 2011