Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104

  • Chemotherapy


Decision making capacity fatigues after repeated decisions similar to skeletal muscle. The result is decision fatigue, in which subsequent decisions are altered toward the status quo. Patients are at risk for decision fatigue yet it has not been studied. The Investigator proposes a randomized study in the outpatient setting in patients at high risk for needing to make complex decisions, in an effort to determine the impact of decision fatigue on participant self-control and subsequent choices.

Study summary:

Just as skeletal muscle fatigues after repeated use, decision-making capacity fatigues when repeated choices are made. This phenomenon, in which people experience diminished concentration and willpower after repeated decision-making, is termed decision fatigue. (1) People experiencing decision fatigue are more likely to bias subsequent choices toward the status quo. By choosing the status quo, the decision-maker reserves the option to make an alternate choice at a later time, thereby preserving possibilities. Patients and their surrogates often make complex medical decisions for which they may have little experience. Although clearly at high risk, decision fatigue has not been studied this population. To elucidate these questions, we propose a four arm study of patients in a population at high risk for making complex decisions. Participants will be randomly assigned to varied levels of decision making effort to assess for the development of resultant decision fatigue and whether it alters subsequent decisions.


Inclusion Criteria: - aplastic anemia, multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndrome, acute myeloid leukemia, stage IIIB or IV lung cancer, mesothelioma and/or stage IIIB or IV gastrointestinal cancer (pancreatic, biliary, esophageal, gastric, hepatocellular, colon), stage IV melanoma - All participants must be over the age 18 - All participants must be fluent in English Exclusion Criteria: - Any medical condition known to alter Stroop performance; i.e. significant visual impairment, blind or colorblind, sedating medications during appointment, history of cerebrovascular accident, transient ischemic attack (TIA), seizure disorder, dementia or traumatic head injury with loss of consciousness - Patients will also be ineligible if they are illiterate - Patients will be ineligible if they have either tracheostomy or are currently on hemodialysis as these would significantly alter responses to the hypothetical medical scenarios/decisions



Primary Contact:

Principal Investigator
Scott D. Halpern, MD, PhD
University of Pennsylvania

Backup Contact:


Location Contact:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104
United States

There is no listed contact information for this specific location.

Site Status: N/A

Data Source:

Date Processed: June 24, 2021

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