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Do strong value-based attitudes influence estimations of future events?
  1. Niklas Juth,
  2. Niels Lynöe
  1. Stockholm Centre for Healthcare Ethics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Professor Niels Lynöe, Stockholm Centre for Healthcare Ethics, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden; niels.lynoe{at}


The purpose of the present study was to examine whether or not strong values might influence physicians' estimations of future events. In an empirical study about physicians' attitudes towards physician assisted suicide (PAS) we asked about the physicians' main reasons for being pro, doubtful or contra PAS and also asked them to estimate what would happen with patients' trust if PAS were to be legally accepted in Swedish society. Finally we asked the physicians about their own trust in healthcare in the event of PAS being legally accepted.

We found that in contrast to those who were pro PAS and doubtful, the group who were against PAS did not discriminate between their own opinion and their estimation of what they thought might happen with patients' trust in the future.

Against the backdrop of the present study, we present a hypothesis maintaining that feeling strongly against controversial medical procedures is associated with being inclined to let one's own beliefs influence our capacity to interpret and estimate empirical results. We think this hypothesis merits closer examination.

  • Philosophical ethics
  • attitudes towards death

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  • The authors contributed equally to this article.

  • Funding The Swedish Society of Medicine. Other funders: The Swedish Society of Medicine, ÖK 10, Box 738, 101 35 Stockholm.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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