Patients with epilepsy are frequently confronted with complex treatment decisions. Communicating treatment risks is often difficult because patients may have difficulty with basic statistical concepts (i.e., low numeracy) or might misconceive the statistical information based on the way information is presented, a phenomenon known as "framing bias." We assessed numeracy and framing bias in 95 adults with chronic epilepsy and explored cognitive correlates of framing bias. Compared with normal controls, patients with epilepsy had significantly poorer performance on the Numeracy scale (P= 0.02), despite a higher level of education than normal controls (P< 0.001). Compared with patients with higher numeracy, patients with lower numeracy were significantly more likely to exhibit framing bias. Abstract problem solving performance correlated with the degree of framing bias (r= 0.631, P< 0.0001), suggesting a relationship between aspects of executive functioning and framing bias. Poor numeracy and susceptibility framing bias place patients with epilepsy at risk for uninformed decisions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Risk assessment