Topic X. Types of Errors and their Costs
Context for this filter:
- B. CONCEPT ACQUISITION
- There is always the possibility of a trade-off—for a given test, one can reduce the risk of false positives by increasing the risk of false negatives, and vice-versa.
- Exemplary Quotes
- "It's true that sometimes seatbelts cause deaths, when people get stuck in them and can't get out. But they more often save lives, so it is prudent to wear your seatbelt whenever you drive."
- "I asked them to imagine that they faced a choice between two types of radiation therapy for early-stage breast cancer. The first treatment would leave them with a 15% chance of local recurrence and a 10% chance of moderate or severe breast fibrosis. The second treatment would leave them with only an 8% chance of local recurrence but a 30% chance of moderate or severe fibrosis. The radiation oncologists raised their hands in almost equal numbers for the two treatments. Some believed the higher risk of fibrosis was unacceptable, given the treatability of most local recurrences, whereas others believed the trauma of recurrence outweighed the discomfort of fibrosis. But sometimes physicians' values differ in important ways from those of many patients. When such value judgments are incorporated into professional treatment guidelines, without any explicit acknowledgment that a reasonable patient might choose an alternative course of treatment, they take potential choices away from patients." https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1504245
- Cautionary Quotes: Mistakes, Misconceptions, & Misunderstandings
- C. CONCEPT APPLICATION
- Weigh the costs associated with false positives/negatives with the benefits associated with true positives/negatives when making a decision under uncertain conditions.
- Explain how people could come to different decisions or policies as a result of different utilities/values associated with different types of errors, even if they agree about the relevant facts.