cyberchondria-do-online-health-searches-prompt-symptoms-and-worse-mary-aiken

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Interactive video lesson plan for: Cyberchondria: Do Online Health Searches Prompt Symptoms (and Worse)? | Mary Aiken

Activity overview:

1% of all Google searches are health queries. Cyberpsychologist Mary Aiken explains how artificial intelligence diagnostics lead to psychosomatic symptoms, and potentially explain the fourfold increase in iatrogenic death in the US since 1999. Aiken's book is "The Cyber Effect: A Pioneering Cyberpsychologist Explains How Human Behavior Changes Online" (http://goo.gl/A3qbwb).

Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/mary-aiken-on-cyberchondria

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Transcript - I’m sure everybody knows somebody who searches health related information online. Well there’s actually a name for it and it’s called cyberchondria. Cyberchondria is defined as anxiety induced by escalation during online search to review morbid or serious content. So what does this mean? Well it means that you have a headache and you end up reading about brain tumor. And there’s a very good reason behind it. Humans have a propensity to escalate, to review the worst possible scenario probably to dismiss it. So come back to the headache. If you went to your doctor and you said I have a terrible headache and your doctor said well, you could have anything from a hangover to a brain tumor. You would say oh my goodness, talk to me about the brain tumor. And essentially that’s what happens online. People click on the worst case scenario and therefore those scenarios get driven up the search rankings. So the point about search it’s based on a frequency model, things that are frequently clicked are those things that actually rise to the top of search results. That’s fine if you’re looking at best beach in Florida but when it comes to health related matters it’s problematic. Why? Because it causes anxiety and you could be perfectly well but end up with a nasty case of health anxiety as a result of search. Read Full Transcript Here: http://goo.gl/sV5N3Z.

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