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A mistake made in reasoning in which a judgment is made that depends excessively on preconceptions, bias, or an initial point of reference. For example, a patient on a hospital neurology service is found unconscious. The caregivers assume or are committed to the idea that, like many other patients cared for on the neurology service, the patient may have suffered a stroke. The patient is sent for an imaging study of the brain to rule out stroke. Other common and potentially deadly causes of coma, e.g., a dangerously low blood glucose level, are overlooked during the initial assessment.
See also: error