Matthew effect

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Matthew effect2016-12-09T17:48:12+00:00

Matthew effect

Matthew effect image from New Medical Terms



An allegorical term applied to the observation that an eminent scientist–e.g., Nobel laureate, or other person of renown, will receive a disproportionate amount of credit for a discovery, despite a relatively small contribution to the ultimate success of a project.

The name comes from the biblical Matthew, one of Christ’s 12 disciples who said, “For to every one who has, more shall be given and he shall have in abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken”. The term has been borrowed by epidemiologists for tabulating the “hard and “soft” risk factors of a disease, as those subjects with more risk factors will be more likely to suffer from the disease.  

Synonym Halo effect  

Reference RK Morton, ISIS 1988; 79:606  

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