ArgLab • Permanent Seminar

Misalignments in medical consultations: a preliminary bottom-up conceptualization

Maria Grazia Rossi (IFILNOVA)

IFILNOVA’s Value Research Seminar heartily invites everyone to an online talk by Maria Grazia Rossi (IFILNOVA).


The main aim of this presentation is to discuss a preliminary bottom-up conceptualization of misalignments in medical communication. I will show the relevance of three main types of misalignments (misunderstandings, misconceptions and disagreements) by discussing examples from a corpus of doctor-couple interactions in the field of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). Distinguish between misunderstandings, misconceptions and disagreements is indeed crucial to detect problems affecting communication at different levels (dialogical, conceptual and value). In the preparatory study, conducted in collaboration with Julia Menichetti (University of Oslo) and Jennifer Gerwing (Akershus University Hospital, Oslo), we are provisionally defining misunderstandings as mismatches at a dialogical level, as interlocutors, at the moment, make sense of what each other has said. Misalignment at this level can be observed when interlocutors display alternative interpretations of what each other has said, or they demonstrate a lack of understanding (Rossi & Macagno 2019). We are provisionally defining misconceptions as mismatches at a conceptual level. Rather than a mismatch based on different interpretations of what each other has said, misconceptions involve different/alternative interpretations of the same evidence. Finally, we are provisionally defining disagreements as mismatches identifiable at a value level. Misalignment at this level can be observed when interlocutors adopt opposing and (apparently) not compatible opinions/interpretations/preferences on facts or values. This conceptualization will be used to detect misalignment in a purposively selected subsample of 20 videotaped triadic interactions from a dataset of 85 ART visits. The study is part of a broader project on “Doctor-patient communication in Assisted Reproductive Medicine” coordinated by Elena Vegni (University of Milan) and aimed at investigating the associations between doctor-couple communication, patient satisfaction, and patient engagement in the ART context.

Everybody is welcome to join!

For online participation, please use the following link.

This event is organized by Pedro Abreu and Erich Rast. The purpose of this seminar series is to give researchers a platform to discuss ongoing work and problems — open to all traditions and topics, though currently with a focus on values, evaluative language, and the nature of disagreement. For administrative inquiries, please contact Pedro Abreu or Erich Rast. More information here. If you are interested in giving a talk at the larger ArgLab Colloquium series, please contact Dima Mohammed.