In epidemiological research, recall bias is a systematic error caused by differences in the accuracy or completeness of the recollections retrieved ("recalled") by study participants regarding events or experiences from the past. Sometimes also referred to as response bias, responder bias or reporting bias, this type of measurement bias can be a methodological issue in research involving interviews or questionnaires, in which case it could lead to misclassification of various types of exposure. Recall bias is of particular concern in retrospective studies that use a case-control design to investigate the etiology of a disease or psychiatric condition. For example, in studies of risk factors for breast cancer, women who have had the disease may search their memories more thoroughly than members of the unaffected control group; those who had the disease may recall a greater variety of risk factors they had been exposed to, including those falsely attributed to the disease in the media, such as use of oral contraceptives. To minimize recall bias, some clinical trials have adopted a "wash out period", i.e., a substantial time period that must elapse between the subject's first observation and their subsequent observation of the same event.
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