Hindsight Bias, Knew-it-all-along Effect

psychpost | 4/15/2012 12:25:00 AM
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).

7 responses to "Hindsight Bias, Knew-it-all-along Effect"

  1. Sometimes this happens to me, nice post.

  2. Yeah! Seriously!

  3. Just learned about this in my Intro Psych class this quarter!

  4. Covering this right now in Judgment, Choice, and Decision Making.

  5. Yep, I know a lot of people who fall for this. I try my best not to.

  6. Anonymous | May 2, 2012 at 1:26 AM says:

    obviously, i knew this all along

  7. Anonymous | May 4, 2012 at 1:51 PM says:


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