Dr Mark HassedMany dentists tell me that, when they discuss treatment with patients, the common end result is that the patient says that they will “go home and think about it.”

There are a couple of possible explanations.

One is that they are being way too verbose and technical in their treatment explanations. The patient simply cannot understand what the dentist is saying. Another is that the dentist is violating Hick's Law.

Hick's Law says that the more options you give people the harder it is for them to make a decision. In graph from it looks like this:

At a certain point — usually 3 options — the patient reaches a state called “Decision paralysis”. They cannot work out the correct decision so they become paralysed and simply stop thinking.

If you are hearing a lot of patients say to you “I need to go home and think about it.” maybe you're violating Hick's Law.


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