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beoShaffer comments on Hindsight bias - Less Wrong

53 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 16 August 2007 09:58PM

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Comment author: beoShaffer 04 June 2012 05:08:18PM 1 point [-]

I've seen several references to a latter study by Fischhoff called "Perceived informativeness of facts" which supposedly found that asking participants for arguments in support of the result that didn't happened can reduce hindsight bias. Unfortunately, since I can't access the original article I don't know how practical the effect is. Similarly, "Considering the Opposite: A Corrective Strategy for Social Judgment" indicates that asking people to consider how they would interpret different results found using the same methodology leads to less biased interpretations of studies. It also suggests that explaining explaining the details of how biased cognition happens is a more effective intervention that just telling people about the end result.

Comment author: MarsColony_in10years 21 February 2015 03:57:12AM 1 point [-]

Thank you for bothering to comment on a 2007 article 5 years later. I just scanned thorough all the comments looking specifically for information on how to avoid hindsight bias, and yours was the only one.

After being supplied this information, I would tentatively speculate that it may be explained by the degree of thought we give to certain narratives. If we are given the outcome, our brain automatically spins a narrative that results in that outcome. When asked how likely that outcome is, we find it easy to simply recall that narrative, but much more difficult to spin a new narrative, especially when it contradicts the known outcome, forcing us to consciously ignore information we already have. In effect, we've been primed with one narrative.

If, however, we deliberately spend a couple seconds or minutes imagining another scenario, then we quickly get to a point of diminishing returns with imagining that narrative, too. When we try to estimate the probabilities, however, we judge them on more equal footing.