I'm looking for a term that means something similar to the idea expressed by the phrase “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail,” but where the hammer is the set of skills, jargon, norms, etc. associated with a profession.

The term would describe the physicist in this comic.

There is a Portuguese phrase with this meaning: “deformação profissional” (literally professional deformation). It's a play on the phrase “formação profissional” (professional qualification).

  • My first thought, group think. Or perhaps implicit egotism might fit, the hypothesis that humans have an unconscious preference for things they associate with themselves (hence their career).
    – C. Tango
    May 9, 2017 at 3:45
  • 1
    Related: english.stackexchange.com/questions/239900/on-professional-bias
    – user66974
    May 9, 2017 at 6:41
  • You might say "He sees things through the lens of his profession"
    – Xanne
    May 9, 2017 at 8:16

1 Answer 1


Professional bias is an expression often used to refer to the context you describe:

Déformation professionnelle:

  • is a French phrase, meaning a tendency to look at things from the point of view of one's own profession rather than from a broader perspective.

  • It is often translated as "professional deformation" or "job conditioning," though French déformation can also be translated as "distortion." The implication is that professional training, and its related socialization, often result in a distortion of the way one views the world.


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