You are 30 years old. You smoked for 10 years but quit last year. You started getting a dry cough recently and becoming strangely short of breath when walking long distances and you can hear yourself wheeze. A search for “cough with wheezing” on Google returns a very long list of medical words – some you know, some you don’t – like asthma, emphysema, bronchiolitis. And then you come upon some heavy-weight diagnostic jargon like “allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis,” “acute respiratory distress syndrome,” and “bronchogenic pulmonary adenocarcinoma.”
Now you are really worried.
Welcome to the world of medical information overload.
This phenomenon is called the “curse of expertise,” and it shows up in all sorts of settings—not just the instructor who can’t communicate what she knows to her students, but also the parent helping with homework who can’t get a concept across to his child, the marketer or salesperson who misjudges what customers knows, and the manager who’s frustrated that his employees don’t “get it” more quickly.
Annie Murphy Paul, The Brilliant Report, as cited.