Hindsight Bias, Knew-it-all-along Effect

psychpost | 4/15/2012 12:25:00 AM | 7 Comments
Hindsight: always 20/20. source

Hindsight Bias, also called the Knew-it-all-along effect or creeping determinism, is the tendency people have to view events that have already occurred to be more predictable than they really are. After an event, people often believe that they knew the outcome of the event before it actually occurred.

This often happens to Psychology students when they read about an experiment or new research. Upon hearing or reading the results sometimes we think, "well, that conclusion seemed obvious." This Hindsight Bias is often seen in the outcome of sporting events and political elections.

A simple way to measure Hindsight Bias is to ask an individual to assign probabilities regarding the possible outcome of an event. Some time after the event has occurred you ask the individual to reconstruct their probabilities again. The disparity between probabilities reflects the amount of Hindsight Bias.

I have read a lot of different ideas and theories regarding the cause or purpose of this kind of behavior. Cognitive models suggest that the new learned information have a "stronger" representation in memory than older memories. In Social Psychology, Hindsight Bias allows us to maintain a positive view of ourselves (by being correct).
I read some interesting news regarding Autism Research which can be found here: Gene Expression Abnormalities in Autism Identified.

Eric Courchense
Eric Courchesne, the director of the Autism Center at UCSD, has identified abnormal genetic mechanisms in young autism patients. The abnormalities that were identified are related to early brain development and may contribute to the excess of neurons in autism patients.

“The genes that control the number of brain cells did not have the normal functional expression, and the level of gene expression that governs the pattern of neural organization across the prefrontal cortex is turned down.  There are abnormal numbers and patterns of brain cells, and subsequently the pattern is disturbed,” Courchesne said. “This probably leads to too many brain cells in some locations, such as prefrontal cortex, but perhaps too few in other regions of cortex as well.”

The finding of this research coincide with information already known  about Autism. Autism is highly heritable which suggests that it is a genetic disorder and these findings support that idea.