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9.6: Hindsight Bias

  • Page ID
    54114
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    Hindsight bias is the opposite of overconfidence bias, as it occurs when looking backward in time where mistakes made seem obvious after they have already occurred. In other words, after a surprising event occurred, many individuals are likely to think that they already knew this was going to happen. This may be because they are selectively reconstructing the events. Hindsight bias becomes a problem especially when judging someone else’s decisions. For example, let’s say a company driver hears the engine making unusual sounds before starting her morning routine. Being familiar with this car in particular, the driver may conclude that the probability of a serious problem is small and continue to drive the car. During the day, the car malfunctions, stranding her away from the office. It would be easy to criticize her decision to continue to drive the car because, in hindsight, the noises heard in the morning would make us believe that she should have known something was wrong and she should have taken the car in for service. However, the driver may have heard similar sounds before with no consequences, so based on the information available to her at the time, she may have made a reasonable choice. Therefore, it is important for decision makers to remember this bias before passing judgments on other people’s actions.


    This page titled 9.6: Hindsight Bias is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Mehgan Andrade and Neil Walker.