What is Good, and What is Bad?

What is Good, and What is Bad?

In the same way that Hitler convinced an entire army to kill almost an entire population, people can ignore the truth and see only what they want to see.  The term for this in psychology in confirmation bias.  Confirmation bias is when we interpret what we see as evidence of what we want to see.  Hitler manipulated is army into seeing the “benefit” of their actions.  In Tuskegee Experiment, the researchers were asked if what they did was wrong, and they said no.  They believed that what they were doing was necessary and important, even if it meant killing many people.  They are so focused on their goal that they block out the truth.  In both circumstances, the “good” of the experiment blinded them from the “bad.”

As I move forward in my career, it is important that I always consider how the other person will feel.  We must consider the outcome of our actions from all sides of the situation.  Sometimes things that we think are “good” others might think the opposite.  We must recognize that others have different lifestyles and values.  It is important that we discuss these topics to recognize that horrible things like this still occur.  It’s not an issue that happened a long time ago and doesn’t come up anymore.  The question of what is right and what is wrong can never be answered.  Not to mention that cultures all over the world have different values and ways of seeing life.  Something that seems “wrong” to Americans may be completely normal somewhere else.  In the medical world, the question becomes, what happens when you treat someone from a different culture who has different ethical standards than you do?

9 thoughts on “What is Good, and What is Bad?

  1. Wow, what you said about confirmation bias was really interesting. That might be one reason so many widespread tragedies happen. If everyone is going along with it, why shouldn’t you? It is this type of “groupthink” that is detrimental to individual lives. Without being backed by so many people, most of the historical tragedies most likely would not have happened. I think the most difficult part is that people can go along with things without even second guessing it, simply because it is what everyone else is doing. It is comparable to the bystander effect, but on a larger scale. Unfortunately, I am not so sure that this will ever change, because it might not be a “learned ability”. What can change is the laws and systems we put into place to protect people, and hopefully we will get better and better at enforcing said systems.

  2. Confirmation bias is a very interesting logical way to explain my simple explanation for situations like this, because I personally just think that people do not care. Especially with the Tuskegee syphilis trials. Those researchers did not care about the people they killed because these people were black. Adam said it best when he stated that people were willing to kill these people to save white lives. Social hierarchy plays a large role in experiments like this. People who think that they are the superiors in society believe they can do whatever to people who are not like them in order to help themselves. Whether a racial, religious, economic, or mental inequality, the people that are victims to this cruelty are all some kind of minority.

  3. I agree that confirmation bias is an underlying factor in interpreting things as “good” or “bad.” I think that especially now, in the political climate our nation is in right now, there are such polarized views of what is right/wrong, and there is often little middle ground. We may perceive the perspectives of others as morally wrong and unjust, while they believe they are justified in their actions because from their perspective, they are right. It is an incredibly difficult situation to try and resolve because, as is evident in every news media source right now, it is very hard to change people’s mind on opinions they have been raised to believe, and are exposed to daily. While it is a difficult task, I believe as future healthcare providers, and just as people in general, we need to try and understand the other side’s viewpoints and evaluate the evidence that they use to support their arguments. Only when there is communication between two sides will there be compromise.

  4. The information about Confirmation Bias is a great addition to the topic we are learning about. It is hard to think about the idea that someone would see themselves as doing something good in these horrible situations. It makes you wonder if and when these types of things could happen again. Confirmation bias makes me think about what could happen in my future career as well. This can happen on a smaller scale where a health care provider thinks they are doing all the right things because of the power and the authority they have. In reality, they could be doing something completely wrong for the patient. I think we all must consider this possibility as we head into our futures as health care providers.

  5. You wrote about how in Nazi Germany, people thought that what they were doing was “necessary and important” and that they were “so focused on the goal that they blocked out the truth.” I think that this is so applicable to what is happening in our country today with President Trump’s new Executive Order banning muslims without U.S. citizenship from entering America. Many people think that this is necessary and important for the safety of our country, but are they so intent that they are right that they are blocking out the pain and division they are creating?

  6. Confirmation bias is a reminder of what needs to be looked out for in the field of research. This bias is mitigated nowadays by the use of various ethics boards that look for any ethical problems that a study could have. The use of these boards are something that has greatly improved the ethics of many aspects of medical research and have helped to prevent the atrocities that have occurred in the past. But as we, as health professionals, move forward we need to ask ourselves whether the things that we are partaking in are ethical. And if they are ethical, do they accurately express our patient’s/ subjects’ values. These two ideals will help to minimize the risk of harming patients.

  7. I really like Allison’s post about Do No Harm: specifically her application of psychology and her assertion that we must regularly explore how our behaviors will impact those around us, especially if we are health care providers and they are patients. Personally, in order to ensure that the care I provide one day is of high quality (specifically that it’s what the patient needs, NOT just what I THINK the patient needs), I will regularly check-in verbally with those I am serving–maintaining open dialogues and accepting critiques so that I can do what is best for the people in need of my care and operate not under assumptions but rather in collaboration with their wishes and values.

  8. I completely agree that as future health professionals we need to think about how treatment will impact people from a wholistic view as opposed to an individual one. It can become difficult when we are speaking about people of different cultures because each culture has its own set of ideas and beliefs. There is a question as to what we should do in the case of ethical standards being compromised and I think the best we can do is have an open mind and not fall into the idea of one culture sharing a single story. This is extremely important when morality comes into play. I think it is fair to say that no matter what a culture may be, we should not allows ourselves as physicians to support mass murder for the sake of medicine. That is when first do no harm comes into play. We must do what is best for our patients and if their health is compromised, we must find another way.

  9. I think that you are spot on with your information about confirmation bias. I think that sometimes people are too scared to go against what they are told to do or what they think they have to do. In the article about “Dr. Death” it talked about the cancer doctor who mistreated and misdiagnosed over 500 people for financial gain. It talked about how nurses came and went without notice, yet the entire time it went on only one person spoke up. I find it hard to believe that no one working with him was at all suspicious, and believe that maybe these people wanted to believe that what they were doing was right.

Leave a Reply