Again, I'm posting an article from a different discipline that so closely parallels medicine.
A pyramid has been found in Bosnia, in Europe.
An amateur archaeologist realized that a particular hill, all covered with grass now, looked a lot like a pyramid and began investigating. Sure enough, he found a structure underneath and even passageways into the "hill."
This pyramid shares much in common with the Egyptian pyramids in its structure and approach, but is also quite different.
The "experts" in archaeology are calling this a "fake." Their responses are that this was just an "amateur archaeologist" and that "everyone was living in caves in Europe at that time in history."
Do you see how strong a mental model can be? There is the pyramid, sitting right there. IT'S RIGHT THERE! And the "expert" looks at it and basically CANNOT SEE IT. His mental model prevents him from believing that a) an amateur could find such an amazing thing and b) that his mental model about the history of Europe could be so wrong.
Again, I bring the topic back to Western medicine.
When a nurse, or any amateur medical practitioner comes up with a new idea to help with healthcare, the "experts" band together to discredit it, based ONLY on the that fact the person is not educated as a Western medical doctor.
But in Western medicine it's even worse, because even when a doctor makes a discovery that challenges the Western medical model, he is pushed down and out as quickly as possible.
Mental models about medicine seem to be the hardest to change. In my podcast last week, I interviewed a nutrition expert who stated that the studies clearly show that if a person is over 50 and has lung cancer, chemotherapy has a 1% chance of helping him. And yet, it will be prescribed over and over again. A damaging, deceptive mental model at work.
I don't know what the answer is. Our mental models come with us as human beings. The inflexibility of mental models is something we all share. For instance, I have a mental model that President George W. Bush is evil and stupid. And no matter what he does, I can't shake that model. President Bush signed the Health Savings Account into law in 2003, which I think is one of the best things to hit healthcare in the last fifty years. I even wrote a book on the topic of HSAs. But did that change my mental model of him? Nope.
Let me know your thoughts on mental models and the Bosnian Pyramid Syndrome.