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‘Anthropomorphism’ Could Ease Cancer Diagnosis

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(CHICAGO) – How doctors describe cancer to patients who have just been diagnosed has a lot to do with how they react to the diagnosis, according to a new study reported by consumer affairs.

By describing cancer using human characteristics and behavior – known as anthropomorphism – patients feel more confident they can beat the disease, according to authors Sara Kim and Ann L. McGill of the University of Chicago.

"The present research shows important downstream consequences of anthropomorphism that go beyond simple liking of products with humanlike physical features," the authors said. The research examines the effect the practice has on an individual’s risk perception.

The authors found that people felt they could better control a disease like skin cancer if it had "humanlike evil intentions to hurt people."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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