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25 February 2016 @ 06:00 am
Do patients know what they want?  
Scott Alexander on two kinds of psychiatrist
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Kalimac: puzzlekalimac on February 25th, 2016 04:10 pm (UTC)
Excellent analysis. The failure mode of attitude 2 is common among a lot of other people than psychiatrists, and one sees it particularly in politics, where people scratch their heads in bafflement as to why their opponents take the positions they do, totally ignoring the reasons they say they're taking them.

A mild version of attitude 2 exists in reference librarianship, where it's likely that what people ask for is not necessarily what they want. "Where's the encyclopedia?" was a common question back when I was in library school, but often enough it means they want some information for which the encyclopedia is not a good source. On the other hand, to be queried about what you really want when you do know what you're looking for and just want to know where it is (extreme example: "Where's the restroom?") is exceedingly annoying for the patron.