What Do Physicians Believe About the Way Decisions Are Made? A Pilot Study on Metacognitive Knowledge in the Medical Context

Paola Iannello, Valeria Perucca, Silvia Riva, Alessandro Antonietti, Gabriella Pravettoni


Metacognition relative to medical decision making has been poorly investigated to date. However, beliefs about methods of decision making (metacognition) play a fundamental role in determining the efficiency of the decision itself. In the present study, we investigated a set of beliefs that physicians develop in relation to the modes of making decisions in a professional environment. The Solomon Questionnaire, designed to assess metacognitive knowledge about behaviors and mental processes involved in decision making, was administered to a sample of 18 emergency physicians, 18 surgeons, and 18 internists. Significant differences in metacognitive knowledge emerged among these three medical areas. Physicians’ self-reports about the decision process mirrored the peculiarities of the context in which they operate. Their metacognitive knowledge demonstrated a reflective attitude that is an effective tool during the decision making process.


medical decision making; metacognition; self-awareness; emergency care; surgery; internal medicine

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