Semmelweis Reflex (Semmelweis Effect)

The Semmelweis reflex or effect refers to the tendency to automatically reject new information or knowledge because it contradicts current thinking or beliefs. This is often seen in science and academics when a new theory is put forward that most people don't want to accept immediately.

For instance, the ideas that the earth revolves around the sun or that modern species evolved from earlier species were generally rejected at first and considered to be radical and untrue. The Semmesweis effect is named after the physician, Ignaz Semmelweis who noted that mortality rates fell to ten times a lower rate when doctors would wash their hands with an antiseptic substance in between each patient and after autopsies. His fellow physician peers rejected his discovery due to the belief that the hands of a gentleman would not be able to transmit disease.

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