Individual predictors of hindsight bias: A longitudinal study

Sonya Marie Stokes, University of Texas at El Paso


The hindsight bias, a person's tendency to overestimate their ability to predict the outcome of an event after the fact, is a phenomenon present in nearly every area of our lives (Arkes, Faust, Guilmette & Hart, 1988). The bias can be mitigated by factors such as analytical and deep thought regarding an outcome and increased expertise (Gray et al., 2007; Knoll, 2009; Arkes et al., 1988). In this study, we examined the growth of hindsight bias over 4 time points using a within-subjects memory model. For our analysis, we quantified hindsight bias in two ways: the number of "flips" a participant committed and the proportion of change in their confidence in their decision (measured on a scale of 0-100). We additionally assessed the relationship between hindsight bias and individual differences such as gender, expertise, self-presentational concerns, need for cognition, and impulsivity and carelessness in social problem solving. We found that participants did not flip a significant amount of their predictions for Week 8 (β = -.95, SE = .68, ns) but committed 12% more hindsight flips for each successive week (β = -1.99, .34, p < .001). Participant committed confidence hindsight bias on Game 1 of Week 8 (β = .50, SE = .25, p < .05; 25% of bias possible), Week 9 (β = .889, SE = .39, p < .001; 60% of bias possible), and Week 11, β = .34, SE = .17, p < .05, 13% of bias possible. Additionally, the amount of bias committed on Week 9 reduced by 4% for each progressive game, β = - 0.08, SE = .04, p < .05. Individual differences were unable to significantly predict variance in the hindsight bias.

Subject Area

Behavioral psychology

Recommended Citation

Stokes, Sonya Marie, "Individual predictors of hindsight bias: A longitudinal study" (2013). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1546350.