Why do Black newborns have a relatively high mortality rate in the U.S. — and how does the race of the doctor factor in?
- A new study examined nearly 2 million births in Florida from 1992 to 2015.
- The results showed that, when cared for by a white doctor, Black newborns are 3 times more likely to die than white newborns.
- The researchers said several "disturbing" factors are likely at play.
Potential causes<p>Why might the race of the attending physician matter? Although the researchers didn't examine the root causes of the disparity, they did mention that factors like eclampsia and preeclampsia (dangerous conditions that afflict Black women at disproportionate rates), socioeconomic inequality, racial biases, and institutional racism may play a part.</p><p>Brad Greenwood, study co-author and an associate professor of Information Systems & Operations Management Sciences at George Mason University, told <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2020/08/19/black-babies-more-likely-live-when-treated-black-doctors-study/3389521001/" target="_blank">USA Today</a> that a mix of "disturbing" structural influences could be contributing to the problem.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"I don't think any of us would suggest as co-authors that these results are manifesting as a result of malicious bias on the part of physicians," Greenwood said. "I also think that underscores how insidious something like this is. Children are dying as a result of just structural problems."</p>
80% of adults are overly optimistic about life—where does that cognitive bias come from?
There's one brain bias that affects 80% of adults and it has a familiar name you may not expect: optimism. Not always thought of as a cognitive mechanism, the optimism bias leads people to overestimate the likelihood of positive outcomes and to underestimate the likelihood of negative outcomes. It can be hugely helpful in our social lives and in keeping us motivated even if the trade off is, at times, the denial of reality. So where does this cognitive bias come from? Are we born with it, or do we develop it as we grow? Developmental psychologist Lori Markson compiles research about how optimism works in babies and young kids, and how that may help us to understand why we adults are the way we are. This video was filmed at the Los Angeles Hope Festival, a collaboration between Big Think and Hope & Optimism.