When debiasing backfires: accessible content and accessibility experiences in debiasing hindsight.

  title={When debiasing backfires: accessible content and accessibility experiences in debiasing hindsight.},
  author={Lawrence J. Sanna and Norbert Schwarz and Shevaun L. Stocker},
  journal={Journal of experimental psychology. Learning, memory, and cognition},
  volume={28 3},
Two studies demonstrated that attempts to debias hindsight by thinking about alternative outcomes may backfire and traced this to the influence of subjective accessibility experiences. Participants listed either few (2) or many (10) thoughts about how an event might have turned out otherwise. Listing many counterfactual thoughts was experienced as difficult and consistently increased the hindsight bias, presumably because the experienced difficulty suggested that there were not many ways in… 

Tables and Topics from this paper

Debiasing the hindsight bias: The role of accessibility experiences and (mis)attributions
Two studies tested the role of accessibility experiences and attributions in debiasing the hindsight bias. Participants listed 4 or 12 thoughts about how a college football game, or the 2000 US
Accessibility experiences and the hindsight bias: I knew it all along versus it could never have happened
In two experiments, we tested accessibility experiences versus accessible content in influencing the hindsight bias when participants generated either thoughts about alternative outcomes or thoughts
Belief Perseverance: The Role of Accessible Content and Accessibility Experiences
Two studies tested the influence of accessibility experiences on belief perseverance when participants generated few or many reasons about how a reported outcome or an alternative outcome might have
Theories of hindsight bias have emphasized the role of declarative information. However, accumulating evidence suggests that the production and reduction of hindsight bias involves an intricate
Metacognitive Experiences and Human Judgment
Theories of judgment have emphasized the influence of what comes to mind—the content of people's thoughts. But recent research shows that metacognitive experiences accompanying thinking, like a sense
The Role of Surprise in Hindsight Bias: A Metacognitive Model of Reduced and Reversed Hindsight Bias
Hindsight bias is the well researched phenomenon that people falsely believe that they would have correctly predicted the outcome of an event once it is known. In recent years, several authors have
Not the same old hindsight bias: Outcome information distorts a broad range of retrospective judgments
Experiment 2 showed that the effects of hindsight bias were diminished when participants engaged in private thought about the upcoming questions prior to receiving outcome information, suggesting that the effect is not due to impression management concerns.
Integrating Temporal Biases
An interaction between thought content and accessibility experiences (how easily or difficultly thoughts come to mind) is found and has implications for debiasing strategies and other judgments over time.
Hindsight Bias
  • N. Roese, K. Vohs
  • Medicine
    Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science
  • 2012
New technologies for visualizing and understanding data sets may have the unintended consequence of heightening hindsight bias, but an intervention that encourages people to consider alternative causal explanations for a given outcome can reduce hindsight bias.
RETRACTED: When thoughts don’t feel like they used to: Changing feelings of subjective ease in judgments of the past
Thinking about the past is critical to everyday experiences, but people are not unbiased when doing so. Feelings of subjective ease that accompany generating reasons for known or alternative outcomes


Hindsight ≠ foresight: the effect of outcome knowledge on judgment under uncertainty*
It is argued that a lack of awareness of outcome knowledge can seriously restrict one’s ability to judge or learn from the past.
Accessible Content and Accessibility Experiences: The Interplay of Declarative and Experiential Information in Judgment
  • N. Schwarz
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Personality and social psychology review : an official journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc
  • 1998
Recall tasks render 2 distinct sources of information available: the recalled content and the experienced ease or difficulty with which it can be brought to mind. Because retrieving many pieces of
Judgment under uncertainty: For those condemned to study the past: Heuristics and biases in hindsight
Benson (1972) has identified four reasons for studying the past: to entertain, to create a group (or national) identity, to reveal the extent of human possibility, and to develop systematic knowledge
Hindsight and Causality
When people know how an event turned out, they are usually unable to reproduce the judgments they would have made without outcome knowledge. Furthermore, they are unaware of their inability to
The hindsight bias: A meta-analysis
Abstract The hindsight bias in probability assessments is one of the most frequently cited judgment biases. A meta-analysis of 122 studies revealed evidence that the bias occurs under some conditions
Eliminating the hindsight bias.
Those who consider the likelihood of an event after it has occurred exaggerate their likelihood of having been able to predict that event in advance. We attempted to eliminate this hindsight bias
Ease of retrieval as information: Another look at the availability heuristic.
Experienced ease of recall was found to qualify the implications of recalled content. Ss who had to recall 12 examples of assertive (unassertive) behaviors, which was difficult, rated themselves as
Defensive pessimism, optimism, and simulating alternatives: some ups and downs of prefactual and counterfactual thinking.
  • L. Sanna
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Journal of personality and social psychology
  • 1996
Four studies investigated the prefactual (alternative preoutcome predictions) and counterfactual (Alternative postoutcome "what might have beens") mental simulations of defensive pessimists and optimists, finding individual differences in strategies of prefactual andcounterfactual thinking.
How do we know that we know? The accessibility model of the feeling of knowing.
Even when Ss fail to recall a solicited target, they can provide feeling-of-knowing (FOK) judgments about its availability in memory. Most previous studies addressed the question of FOK accuracy,
On the Psychology of Experimental Surprises.
Studies of the psychology of hindsight have shown that reporting the outcome of a historical event increases the perceived likelihood of that outcome. Three experiments show that similar hindsight