The Wisdom of Crowds (Vox Populi) and Antidepressant Use

Scott B Patten*
Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Canada

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© Scott B. Patten; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the 3rd Floor TRW Building, 3280 Hospital Drive N.W., Calgary, Alberta, Canada. T2N 4Z6; Tel: +1.403.220.8752; Fax: +1.403.270.7307; E-mail:


Under certain conditions, groups of people may (collectively) make better judgments than experts. Galton connected this phenomenon to the phrase vox populi in a 1907 paper. Arguably, an example of the phenomenon may be found in recent stabilization of the frequency of antidepressant use, following decades of increases. There is no evidence that a change in physi-cian behaviour has caused this stabilization. The stable frequency more likely reflects decisions made by thousands of individual people based on their personal experiences. This may provide a statement from the vox populi on an optimal frequency of antidepressant use in contemporary populations under current conditions, a topic that has eluded the consensus of experts.

Keywords: Antidepressant medications, major depression, medication use, monitoring, pharmacoepidemiology, population health. .