The distorted nature of hindsight


Journal Article

Research has shown that individuals tend retrospectively to overestimate the degree to which they expected certain events to occur. Previous explanations of this phenomenon have focused on their inability to reconstruct prior probabilities once the outcome of an event is known. The present study examined the possible roles of the motives to maintain one's self-esteem or appear well to others in producing the effect. Ss (51 males, 42 females) classified as either high or low in ego-involvement regarding knowledge of football were asked pregame, under either public or anonymous conditions, to predict the score of a football game, or were asked postgame, under the same conditions, to indicate what they would have predicted the score to be. Results showed that Ss' hindsight predictions were closer to the actual score of the game than predictions made before the game, but there were no effects of either mode of prediction (public or anonymous) or ego-involvement. Hindsight distortion appeared to reflect biases in information processing and may have occurred in the absence of motivational effects. © 1981 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Leary, MR

Published Date

  • January 1, 1981

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 115 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 25 - 29

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1940-1183

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-4545

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/00224545.1981.9711984

Citation Source

  • Scopus