Wikipedia outperforms individuals when it comes to hindsight bias
Hindsight bias—the tendency to overestimate in hindsight what one knew in foresight—is a robust and pervasive human error. A recent study with Wikipedia articles, however, found evidence for a hindsight bias only for disasters but not for any other event category (e.g., elections). Although this might suggest Wikipedia articles to be less biased than individuals, alternative explanations had not been ruled out. The present study set out to answer this question by comparing individuals’ and Wikipedia’s representation of the very same event in foresight and hindsight. In particular, we made use of a state election and surveyed one part of participants before and after the outcome and had other participants rate the corresponding Wikipedia article versions with regard to the extent to which the article was suggestive of a particular outcome and presented it as foreseeable and inevitable. In line with prior research and our hypotheses, we found a hindsight bias at the individual level but not in Wikipedia articles. Applying Bayesian statistics, there was substantial support for the null hypothesis (i.e., no hindsight bias) in Wikipedia. By controlling for the potential impact of participants’ own hindsight bias on their article ratings we can rule out alternative explanations of our findings. Therefore, our findings are the first to demonstrate Wikipedia’s superiority over individuals when it comes to hindsight bias.
- Adler, B. T., Alfaro, L., de Mola-Velasco, S. M., Rosso, P., & West, A. G. (2011). Wikipedia vandalism detection: Combining natural language, metadata, and reputation features. In A. Gelbukh (Ed.), Computational linguistics and intelligent text processing (pp. 277–288). Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Ash, I. K. (2009). Surprise, memory, and retrospective judgment making: Testing cognitive reconstruction theories of the hindsight bias effect. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 35, 916–933.Google Scholar
- Bellomi, F., & Bonato, R. (2005). Network analysis for Wikipedia. In Proceedings of the first international Wikimedia conference Wikimania. Retrieved from http://www.uvm.edu/~pdodds/files/papers/others/2009/bellomi2009a.pdf. Accessed 19 Mar 2019.
- Brown, A. R. (2011). Wikipedia as a data source for political scientists: Accuracy and completeness of coverage. PS: Political Science & Politics, 44(2), 339–343.Google Scholar
- Bukszar, E., & Connolly, T. (1988). Hindsight bias and strategic choice: Some problems in learning from experience. Academy of Management Journal, 31, 628–641.Google Scholar
- Casebourne, I., Davies, C., Fernandes, M., & Norman, N. (2012). Assessing the accuracy and quality of Wikipedia entries compared to popular online encyclopaedias: A comparative preliminary study across disciplines in English, Spanish and Arabic. Epic, Brighton, UK. Accedido o, 9(10), 2012.Google Scholar
- Erdfelder, E., & Buchner, A. (1998). Decomposing the hindsight bias: A multinomial processing tree model for separating recollection and reconstruction in hindsight. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 24, 387–414.Google Scholar
- Ferron, M., & Massa, P. (2011). Collective memory building in Wikipedia: The case of North African uprisings. In Proceedings of the Wikisym. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/phauly/collective-memory-building-in-wikipedia-the-case-of-north-african-uprisings. Accessed 19 Mar 2019.
- Fischer, I., & Budescu, D. V. (1995). Desirability and hindsight biases in predicting results of a multi-party election. In J.-P. Caverni, M. Bar-Hillel, F. H. Barron & H. Jungermann (Eds.), Contributions to decision making (Vol. 1, pp. 193–211). Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
- Fischhoff, B. (1975). Hindsight ≠ foresight: The effect of outcome knowledge on judgment under uncertainty. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 1, 288–299.Google Scholar
- Fischhoff, B. (1977). Perceived informativeness of facts. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 3, 349–358.Google Scholar
- Fischhoff, B., Gonzalez, R. M., Lerner, J. S., & Small, D. A. (2005). Evolving judgments of terror risks: Foresight, hindsight, and emotion. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 11, 124–139.Google Scholar
- Forte, A., & Bruckman, A. (2008). Scaling consensus: Increasing decentralization in Wikipedia governance. In Proceedings of the 41st annual Hawaii international conference on system sciences (HICSS’08). Washington, DC: IEEE.Google Scholar
- Hecht, B., & Gergle, D. (2009). Measuring self-focus bias in community-maintained knowledge repositories. In Proceedings of the 4th international conference on communities and technologies (pp. 11–20). New York: ACM.Google Scholar
- Hecht, B., & Gergle, D. (2010). The tower of Babel meets web 2.0: User-generated content and its applications in a multilingual context. In CHI ‘10 Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems (pp. 291–300). New York: ACM.Google Scholar
- Hoffrage, U., Hertwig, R., & Gigerenzer, G. (2000). Hindsight bias: A by-product of knowledge updating? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 26, 566–581.Google Scholar
- Keegan, B., Gergle, D., & Contractor, N. (2011). Hot off the wiki: Dynamics, practices, and structures in Wikipedia’s coverage of the Tōhoku catastrophes. In Proceedings of the 7th international symposium on wikis and open collaboration (WikiSym’11) (pp. 105–113). New York: ACM Press.Google Scholar
- Kittur, A., Chi, E. H., Pendleton, B. A., Suh, B., & Mytkowicz, T. (2007). Power of the few vs. wisdom of the crowd: Wikipedia and the rise of the bourgeoisie. In 25th annual ACM conference on human factors in computing systems (CHI), San Jose; CA.Google Scholar
- Kittur, A., & Kraut, R. E. (2008). Harnessing the wisdom of crowds in Wikipedia: Quality through coordination. In Proceedings of the 2008 ACM conference on computer supported cooperative work (pp. 37–46). New York: ACM Press.Google Scholar
- Kolbitsch, J., & Maurer, H. (2006). The transformation of the web: How emerging communities shape the information we consume. Journal of Universal Computer Science, 12, 187–213.Google Scholar
- Liao, Q. V., & Fu, W.-T. (2013). Beyond the filter bubble: Interactive effects of perceived threat and topic involvement on selective exposure to information. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems (S. 2359–2368). ACM. http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2481326. Accessed 19 Mar 2019.
- Massa, P., & Scrinzi, F. (2012). Manypedia: Comparing language points of view of Wikipedia communities. In Proceedings of the 8th international symposium on wikis and open collaboration (WikiSym‘12), Linz, Austria. Retrieved from http://www.gnuband.org/files/papers/manypedia_006_wikisym_2012_cameraready.pdf. Accessed 19 Mar 2019.
- Merz, M., & Döring, N. (2010). Aktive Beteiligung an Wikipedia aus sozial-kognitiver Perspektive. Active participation in Wikipedia from a social-cognitive perspective. Retrieved from http://purl.org/merz/20100926. Accessed 27 Nov 2012.
- Nestler, S., Blank, H., & Egloff, B. (2010). Hindsight ≠ hindsight: Experimentally induced dissociations between hindsight components. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 36, 1399–1413.Google Scholar
- Nestler, S., Blank, H., & von Collani, G. (2008). Hindsight bias doesn’t always come easy: Causal models, cognitive effort and creeping determinism. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 34, 1043–1054.Google Scholar
- Nestler, S., & Egloff, B. (2009). Increased or reversed? The effect of surprise on hindsight bias depends on the hindsight component. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 35, 1539–1544.Google Scholar
- Nielsen, F. A. (2017). Wikipedia research and tools: Review and comments. Retrieved from http://www2.imm.dtu.dk/pubdb/views/edoc_download.php/6012/pdf/imm6012.pdf. Accessed 15 Nov 2018.
- Oeberst, A., de Vreeze, J., & Cress, U. (2018). The norm of neutrality in collaborative knowledge construction: A comparison between Wikipedia and the extreme right-wing Metapedia. In O. Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia, G. Wittum & A. Dengel (Eds.), Positive learning in the age of information (PLATO)—a blessing or a curse? (pp. 209–219). Wiesbaden: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Pennington, D. C. (1981). British firemen’s strike of 1977/78: Investigation of judgements in foresight and hindsight. Journal of Social Psychology, 20, 89–96.Google Scholar
- Pohl, R. F. (2017). Cognitive illusions: Intriguing phenomena in thinking, judgment, and memory. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Pohl, R. F., & Erdfelder, E. (2017). Hindsight bias. In R. F. Pohl (Ed.), Cognitive illusions: Intriguing phenomena in thinking, judgment, and memory (2nd ed., pp. 424–445). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Potthast, M., Stein, B., & Gerling, R. (2008). Automatic vandalism detection in Wikipedia. In C. Macdonald et al (Eds.), Advances in information retrieval. 30th European conference on IR research (ECIR 08) volume 4956 of lecture notes in computer science (pp 663–668), Springer: Berlin.Google Scholar
- Reagle, J., & Rhue, L. (2011). Gender bias in Wikipedia and Britannica. International Journal of Communication, 5, 1138–1158.Google Scholar
- Rheingold, H. (2002). Smart mobs: The next social revolution. Cambridge: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Surowiecki, J. (2004). The wisdom of crowds. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
- Tapscott, D., & Williams, A. D. (2006). Wikinomics: How mass collaboration changes everything. New York: Portfolio.Google Scholar
- Viégas, F. B., Wattenberg, M., & Dave, K. (2004). Studying cooperation and conflict between authors with history flow visualizations. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems, New York: ACM Press.Google Scholar
- Viégas, F. B., Wattenberg, M., Kriss, J., & van Ham, F. (2007). Talk before you type: Coordination in Wikipedia. In Proceedings of the 40th annual Hawaii international conference on system sciences (HICSS’07). Washington, DC: IEEE.Google Scholar