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The role of surprise in hindsight bias : a metacognitive model of reduced and reversed hindsight bias


  • Müller, Patrick A.
  • Stahlberg, Dagmar


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 doubted the ubiquity of the effect and have reported a reversal under certain conditions. This article presents an integrative model on the role of surprise as one factor explaining the malleability of the hindsight bias. Three ways in which surprise influences the reconstruction of pre-outcome predictions are assumed: (1) Surprise is used as direct metacognitive heuristic to estimate the distance between outcome and prediction. (2) Surprise triggers a deliberate sense-making process, and (3) also biases this process by enhancing the retrieval of surprise-congruent information and expectancy-based hypothesis testing.

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  • Müller, Patrick A. & Stahlberg, Dagmar, 2007. "The role of surprise in hindsight bias : a metacognitive model of reduced and reversed hindsight bias," Papers 07-16, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
  • Handle: RePEc:mnh:spaper:2551

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stahlberg, Dagmar & Sczesny, Sabine & Schwarz, Stefan, 1999. "Exculpating Victims and the Reversal of Hindsight Bias," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 99-70, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    2. Stahlberg, Dagmar & Sczesny, Sabine & Schwarz, Stefan, 1999. "Exculpating victims and the reversal of hindsight bias," Papers 99-70, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fessel, Florian & Epstude, Kai & Roese, Neal J., 2009. "Hindsight bias redefined: It's about time," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 110(1), pages 56-64, September.


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