Hindsight Bias by Kim Alvarado

Let’s talk about hindsight.


No, not  that  kind of hind sight but rather a phenomenon known as hindsight bias.

What the hindsight bias demonstrates is the tendency to overestimate your ability to predict the outcome of an event after you already know the conclusion and saw some of the forces that brought it about. “Common sense” is a product of the hindsight bias where assumptions are made that reflect an I-knew-it -all-along attitude. This kind of bias can be seen in everyday life where the outcome can seem like common sense once the result is known.

Examples range from the reactions of fans after a game, where they might say something like, “I knew from the first inning that Rodriguez was off his game, it’s no wonder we lost.”

Another example of hindsight bias is parodied by Natalie Tran in her Vlog (watch until 1:15):

Although it seems to skew our perception of reality, hindsight bias is an important factor of human nature. As the video shows,  people can come to very different conclusions from the very same event. For example, there are many common saying or phrases that seem to conclude two very different things as being'”common sense’; the phrases ‘birds of a feather flock together’ and ‘opposites attract’ is an example of this. What hindsight bias demonstrates is that we can’t trust in something that is ‘common sense’ as necessarily being the truth; common sense needs to be replaced with real empirical knowledge. The desire to predict outcomes based on the events of everyday life is what creates the need for both the social and physical sciences. However, seeing something as being correct in hindsight can be a faulty framework to structure our knowledge of our world around. By identifying bias in studies and studying it separatel, the field of social psychology can better critically study  human nature and more clearly understand why we do/think/feel the way we do.

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