Hindsight Bias

Topics: Thought, Critical thinking, Communism Pages: 2 (706 words) Published: June 28, 2008
I've Always Known About the Hindsight Bias

"Oh, I shouldn't have missed that question, I knew the answer." No I didn't, I just thought I did. I just further proved the concept of the Hindsight Bias, or the "I knew it all along phenomenon." This concept came about in the late seventies when psychologists Paul Slovic and Baruch Fischoff began studying how scientific results and historical happenings always seem like common sense to people when in fact , they had no idea. Once people find out something has happened, it seems inevitable that the event happened. Studies have proved this fact by taking a group of people and giving them two concepts exactly opposite of each other. For example, one group may receive "scientific findings" that opposites in people attract them to one another. The other could receive opposite "findings" that people tend to stay with others who have similar qualities to their own. After the "results" are read by the two groups, they both "knew that people behaved in that manner", when in fact, they only thought they knew.

This can also come up in the medical field. Doctors given a dead body along with an autopsy report reported that they could have easily foreseen the cause of death. Doctors given bodies without the autopsy had a little more difficult time finding the cause. (Dawson & others, 1988)

Hindsight bias also frequently occurs when looking back on past events. After a football team wins the Super Bowl, fans "knew all along" the team could pull it off. Or after elections, everyone knew who the winner would end up with the new title. It's always easier to feel cocky after the game-winning shot sinks.

The text uses an example in the field of politics to back up this point. It describes how it would seem obvious to Americans that Eastern European countries would switch over from communism to democracy. This wasn't so obvious to Jeanne Kirkpatrick in 1980. She stated that "The history of this century provides...
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