What Is The Semmelweis Reflex In Behavioral Economics?

The Semmelweis reflex, also known as the “truth is the first casualty of war” effect, is a psychological phenomenon in which people reject new or novel ideas, even if they are well-supported by evidence. This reflex is named after Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian doctor who discovered that the incidence of childbed fever could be greatly reduced if doctors washed their hands before delivering babies. Despite the evidence in support of his discovery, Semmelweis’s ideas were rejected by the medical community at the time, and he was ridiculed and ostracized. The Semmelweis reflex is a common barrier to innovation and progress, as it can cause people to reject new ideas without considering the evidence in support of them. To avoid the Semmelweis reflex, it is important to be open-minded and to carefully evaluate new ideas on their merits, rather than rejecting them out of hand.

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