Amplification of the status quo bias among physicians making medical decisions.


The status quo bias (SQB) is the tendency to prefer the current state of affairs. We investigated if experts (physicians) fall prey to the SQB when making decisions in their area of expertise and, if so, whether the SQB is reduced or amplified for experts compared to non-experts. We presented 302 physicians and 733 members of the general population with a medical scenario and two non-medical scenarios. In each scenario, participants were asked to make a decision between two options. For half of the participants, one of the options was presented as the status quo. All groups displayed a SQB but physicians displayed an amplification of the SQB but only when making decisions in the medical scenario. Experts may be more swayed by status quo options when making decisions in their area of expertise. We discuss why the SQB may be amplified for experts and the implications for practice.