Hindsight Bias: Effect of Knowing the Outcome Beforehand
on the Perceived Predictability of Event
Christine Mae G. Olivar
University of the Philippines-Diliman
Knowing that an event occurred beforehand increases the perception that the event really is inevitable or more likely to happen. The change in perception happens unconsciously within the individual. This study demonstrated this phenomenon by showing that giving two opposite claims on different individuals would make them accept the claim as if it was predictable.
Many people blame others or regret their decisions after coming
across its consequences. Once they experience the effect of their
judgment, they cannot help to think that they might have already seen
things coming; they simply should have been better in reading the
signs. They think that if only they were more careful or if only they
were not pulled in by the other \u201cwrong alternative choices\u201d, they
might have done the right thing. They think that they already knew
what would happen all along.
The I-knew-it-all-along phenomenon usually is observed when people
see the result of their choice, whether the result is good or bad.
After learning the outcome, they feel that the event was very
predictable, even though they were not able to predict it beforehand
(Ashcraft, 1989). The event seems less surprising to them than to
people asked to guess the outcome (Myers, 1992). This phenomenon has
been studied several times and is technically called hindsight bias.
Baruch Fischhoff (1975, 1977), the psychologist who started and made
a number of studies on hindsight bias, proved that (a) reporting an
outcome\u2019s occurrence increases its perceived probability of
occurrence; (b) people who have received the outcome knowledge are
largely unaware of the change it has done on their perceptions.
This study would like to demonstrate this. Myers (1992) said that
this could easily be done by giving half the members of a group some
purported psychological finding and the other half opposite the
result. He also added that people given these opposite results could
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