Overcoming psychological barriers to good discovery decisions

Drug Discov Today. 2010 Jul;15(13-14):561-9. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2010.05.007. Epub 2010 May 27.


Better individual and team decision-making should enhance R&D performance. Reproducible biases affecting human decision-making, known as cognitive biases, are well understood by psychologists. These threaten objectivity and balance and so are credible causes for continuing unpleasant surprises in Development and high operating costs. For four of the most common and insidious cognitive biases, we consider the risks to R&D decision-making and contrast current practice with use of evidence-based medicine by healthcare practitioners. Feedback on problem-solving performance in simulated environments could be one of the simplest ways to help teams improve their selection of compounds and effective screening sequences. Computational tools that encourage objective consideration of all of the available information might also contribute.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomedical Research* / economics
  • Biomedical Research* / organization & administration
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Decision Making, Organizational*
  • Decision Support Systems, Management
  • Drug Discovery*
  • Efficiency, Organizational / economics
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / methods
  • Humans
  • Problem Solving
  • Psychology, Industrial / methods