Ari Ginsberg, PT, DPT, MSIOP
One of my favorite topics in psychology is social psychology. It is founded on the concept that humans are not as rational as we believe ourselves to be. The roots of our irrationality are heuristics and biases, which refer to mental shortcuts and common mistakes that emerge in our minds. One of the common biases is the similar to me bias. It describes the concept that we have a greater affinity and trust to those who are more similar to ourselves. It probably emerged from evolution in that we needed and continue to need to trust others to survive, and those we trust the most tend to be our family members, who look like us. It could also be driven by our narcissism which compels us to love those who resemble us. I can’t recall the source, but I remember hearing about a study on the topic of why couples tend to look like each other as they age. It turns out, that most couples always looked like each other, it is just more noticeable as we age. This is clearly tied to the similar to me bias.
I think training and education should account for the similar to me bias. If a healthcare company hires an individual to speak to their employees about burnout, does it make a difference if the speaker is a healthcare professional themself who has experienced burnout? Of course it does, the audience members are far more likely to identify and thus internalize the lessons from a healthcare professional than someone else. If we were purely rational, then we should absorb the information regardless of the speaker’s profession or style of speaking. We are not, and that’s ok. If you are interested in learning about strategies and techniques to combat PT/OT burnout, check out vimeo.com/ondemand/preventburnout. It comes from a PT who has experience burnout himself, me.