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What kind of bias is hindsight bias?

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When people are asked to recollect a former response after having received feedback information, their recollection tends to approach the feedback answer. This phenomenon is referred to as hindsight bias. Recently, Erdfelder and Buchner proposed a multinomial model designed to independently measure the contributions of reconstruction and recollection processes. On its basis, they only found firm evidence for the contribution of reconstruction biases to hindsight effects. In the present study, we tried to experimentally enhance the probability of recollection biases by (a) reducing the depth of processing of the original estimate, (b) minimizing the distinctness of the original estimate and feedback, and (c) combining both treatments. The empirical data were analyzed using a variant of the Erdfelder and Buchner model which allows for the experimental manipulation of the feedback answer. This model is shown to adequately describe the data of our experiment. Moreover, although both treatments were effective in that the first one reduced correct recollections in general and the second one diminished differences between original estimates and recalled estimates, the parameter estimates indicate that the probability of recollecting the original estimate is not hampered by feedback information, even under conditions which are thought to enhance memory impairments.

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Received: 10 December 1995 / Accepted: 29 October 1997

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Dehn, D., Erdfelder, E. What kind of bias is hindsight bias?. Psychological Research Psychologische Forschung 61, 135–146 (1998).

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