Advertisement

Memory & Cognition

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 533–538 | Cite as

Hindsight bias: An interaction of automatic and motivational factors?

  • Wolfgang Hell
  • Gerd Gigerenzer
  • Siegfried Gauggel
  • Maria Mall
  • Michael Müller
Article

Abstract

If subjects are asked to recollect a former response after having been informed about the correct response, their recollection tends to approach the correct response. This effect has been termedhindsight bias. We studied hindsight bias in an experiment requiring numerical responses to almanac-type questions for physical quantities. We varied (1) the time at which the correct information was provided, (2) the encoding of the original responses by asking/not asking subjects to give a reason for the respective response, and (3) the motivation to recall correctly. We found that hindsight is less biased if reasons are given and if the correct information is provided at an earlier time. Motivation had only interactive effects: (1) With high motivation to recall correctly, the time the correct information was provided had no influence. (2) With reasons given, the variation of motivation showed no effect. These results rule out purely motivational and purely automatic explanations.

Keywords

Memory Trace Correct Information Original Response Hindsight Bias Motivational Influence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Alba, J. W., &Hasher, L. (1983). Is memory schematic?Psychological Bulletin,93, 203–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arkes, H. R., Wortmann, R. L., Saville, P. D., &Harkness, A. R. (1981). Hindsight bias among physicians weighing the likelihood of diagnoses.Journal of Applied Psychology,66, 252–254.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Bartlett, F. C. (1932).Remembering: A study m experimental and social psychology. Cambridge Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Campbell, J. D., &Tesser, A. (1983). Motivational interpretations of hindsight bias: An individual difference analysis.Journal of Personality,51, 605–620.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Craik, F. I. M., &Lockhart, R. S. (1972). Levels of processing: A framework for memory research.Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal Behavior,11, 671–684.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Craik, F. I. M., &Tulving, E. (1975). Depth of processing and the retention of words m episodic memory.Journal of Experimemal Psychology. General,104, 268–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Davies, M. F. (1987). Reduction of hindsight bias by restoration of foresight perspective: Effectiveness of foresight-encoding and hindsight-retrieval strategies.Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes,40, 50–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fischhoff, B. (1975). Hindsight ≠ Foresight: The effect of outcome knowledge on judgment under uncertainty.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,1, 288–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fischhoff, B. (1977). Perceived informativeness of facts.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,3, 349–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fischhoff, B., &Beyth, R. (1975). “I knew it would happen.” Remembered probabilities of once-future things.Organizational Behavior & Human Performance,13, 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hasher, L., Attig, M. S., &Alba, J. W. (1981). I knew it all along: Or, did I?Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal Behavior,20, 86–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kroll, N. E. A., &Timourian, D. A. (1986). Misleading questions and the retrieval of the irretrievable.Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society,24, 165–168.Google Scholar
  13. Leary, M. R. (1981). The distorted nature of hindsight.Journal of Social Psychology,115, 25–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Leary, M. R. (1982). Hindsight distorted and the 1980 presidential election.Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin,8, 257–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lockhart, R. S., &,Murdock, B. B., Jr. (1970). Memory and the theory of signal detection.Psychological Bulletin,74, 100–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Loftus, E. F. (1975). Leading questions and the eyewitness report.Cognitive Psychology,7, 560–572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Loftus, E. F. (1979).Eyewitness testimony. Cambridge. MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Loftus, E. F., &Loftus, G. R. (1980). On the permanence of stored information m the human brain.American Psychologist,35, 409–420.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. McCloskey, M., &Zaragoza, M. (1985). Misleading postevent information and memory for events: Arguments and evidence against memory impairment hypotheses.Journal of Experimental Psychology. General,114, 1–16.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Murdock, B. B., Jr. (1965). Signal-detection theory and short-term memory.Journal of Experimental Psychology,70, 443–447.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Smith, M. C. (1983). Hypnotic memory enhancement of witnesses: Does it work?Psychological Bulletin,94, 387–407.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Snyder, M., &Uranowitz, S. W. (1978). Reconstructing the past: Some cognitive consequences of person perception.Journal of Personality & Social Psychology,36, 941–950.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Synodinos, N. E. (1986). Hindsight distortion: “I knew it all along and I was sure about it.”Journal of Applied Social Psychology,16, 107–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Wood, G. (1978). The knew-it-all-along effect.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,4, 345–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang Hell
    • 1
  • Gerd Gigerenzer
    • 1
  • Siegfried Gauggel
    • 1
  • Maria Mall
    • 1
  • Michael Müller
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ConstanceConstanceFederal Republic of Germany

Personalised recommendations