Can knowledge of election results change recall of our predictions? Neural correlates of political hindsight bias

Autoři: Yin-Hua Chen aff001;  Hsu-Po Cheng aff001;  Yu-Wen Lu aff001;  Pei-Hong Lee aff001;  Georg Northoff aff001;  Nai-Shing Yen aff001
Působiště autorů: Research Center for Mind, Brain, and Learning, National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan aff001;  Mind, Brain Imaging and Neuroethics, Institute of Mental Health Research, Royal Ottawa Health Care Group, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada aff002;  Graduate Institute of Humanities in Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan aff003;  Brain and Consciousness Research Center, Taipei Medical University, Shuang Ho Hospital, New Taipei City, Taiwan aff004;  Center for Cognition and Brain Disorders (CBBD), Normal University, Hangzhou, China aff005;  Department of Psychology, National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan aff006
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(10)
Kategorie: Research Article


Hindsight bias (HB) is the tendency to retrospectively exaggerate one’s foresight knowledge about the outcome of an event. Cognitive processes influenced by newly obtained outcome information are used to explain the HB phenomenon, but the neural correlates remain unknown. This study investigated HB in the context of election results using a memory design and functional magnetic resonance imaging for the first time. Participants were asked to predict and recall the percentage of votes obtained by (pairs of) candidates before and after an election. The results revealed that 88% of participants showed HB by recalling that their predictions were closer to the actual outcomes than they really were; and participants had HB for 38% of the events. The HB effect was associated with activation in the medial superior frontal gyrus and bilateral inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), which have been implicated in updating an old belief due to new information and is similar to the process of reconstruction bias. Furthermore, participants with a greater HB effect showed greater activation of the left IFG. In conclusion, we successfully observed the HB phenomenon in election results, and our imaging results suggested that the HB phenomenon might involve reconstruction bias.

Klíčová slova:

Behavior – Cognition – Elections – Functional magnetic resonance imaging – Memory – Memory recall – Neuroimaging – Taiwan


1. Fischhoff B. Hindsight is not equal to foresight: The effect of outcome knowledge on judgment under uncertainty. J Exp Psychol Human. 1975; 1(3): 288–299.

2. Fischhoff B. Perceived informativeness of facts. J Exp Psychol Human. 1977; 3: 349–358.

3. Hawkins SA, Hastie R Hindsight. Biased judgments of past events after the outcomes are known. Psychol Bull 107. 1990; 311–327.

4. Christensen-Szalanski JJ, Willham CF. The hindsight bias: A meta-analysis. Organ Behav Hum Perf. 1991; 48(1): 147–168.

5. Erdfelder E, Buchner A. Decomposing the hindsight bias: a multinomial processing tree model for separating recollection and reconstruction in hindsight. J Exp Psychol Learn. 1998; 24(2): 387–414.

6. Pohl RF, Eisenhauer M, Hardt O. SARA: A cognitive process model to simulate the anchoring effect and hindsight bias. Memory. 2003; 11 (4/5): 337–356.

7. Guilbault RL, Bryant FB, Brockway JH, Posavac EJ. A meta-analysis of research on hindsight bias. Basic Appl Soc Psych. 2004; 26: 103–117.

8. Roese NJ, Vohs KD. Hindsight Bias. Perspect Psychol Sci. 2012; 7(5): 411–426. doi: 10.1177/1745691612454303 26168501

9. Arkes HR, Faust D, Guilmette TJ, Hart K. Eliminating the hindsight bias. J Appl Psychol. 1988; 73: 305–307.

10. Zwick R, Pieters R, Baumgartner H. On the practical significance of hindsight bias: The case of expectancy-disconfirmation model of consumer satisfaction. Organ Behav Hum Dec. 1995; 64: 103–117.

11. Casper JD, Benedict K, Perry JL. Juror decision making, attitudes, and the hindsight bias. Law Human Behav. 1989; 13: 291–310.

12. Roese NJ, Maniar SD. Perceptions of purple: Counterfactual and hindsight judgments at Northwestern Wildcats football games. Pers Soc Psychol. 1997; B 23: 1245–1253.

13. Schuett F, Wagner AK. Hindsight-biased evaluation of political decision makers. J Public Econ. 2011; 95: 1621–1634.

14. Cassar G, Craig J. An investigation of hindsight bias in nascent venture activity. J Bus Venturing. 2009; 24: 149–164.

15. Blank H, Fischer V, Erdfelder E. Hindsight bias in political elections. Memory. 2003; 11(4–5): 491–504. doi: 10.1080/09658210244000513 14562876

16. Blank H, Nestler S, Von Collani G, Fischer V. How many hindsight biases are there? Cognition. 2008; 106(3): 1408–1440. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2007.07.007 17764669

17. Calvillo D, Rutchick A. Political knowledge reduces hindsight memory distortion in election judgments. J Cogn Psychol. 2014; 26(2): 213–220.

18. Fischer I, Budescu DV. Desirability and hindsight biases in predicting results of a multi-party election. In: Caverni J-P, Bar-Hillel M, Barron FH, Jungermann H, Eds. Contributions to decision making (Vol. 1). Amsterdam: Elsevier; 1995. pp. 193–211.

19. Leary MR. Hindsight distortion and the 1980 presidential election. Pers Soc Psychol B. 1982; 8: 257–263.

20. Powell JL. A test of the knew-it-all-along effect in the 1984 presidential and statewide elections. J Appl Soc Psychol. 1988; 18(9): 760–773.

21. Synodinos NE. Hindsight distortion: “I knew-it-all-along and was sure about it”. J Appl Soc Psychol. 1986; 16: 107–117.

22. Tykocinski OE. I never had a chance: Using hindsight tactics to mitigate disappointments. Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2001; 27: 376–382.

23. Tversky A, Kahneman D. Availability: A heuristic for judging frequency and probability. Cogn Psychol. 1973; 5 (2): 207–232.

24. Fischhoff B, Beyth R. “I knew it would happen”: Remembered probabilities of once-future things. Organ Behav Hum Perf. 1975; 13: 1–16.

25. Slovic P, Fischhoff B. On the psychology of experimental surprises. J Exp Psychol. 1977; 3: 544–551.

26. Hoffrage U, Hertwig R, Gigerenzer G. Hindsight bias: A by-product of knowledge updating? J Exp Psychol Learn. 2000; 26: 566–581.

27. Blank H, Nestler S. Cognitive process models of hindsight bias. Soc Cognition. 2007; 25: 132–146. doi: 10.1521/soco.2007.25.1.132

28. Pohl RF. Ways to assess hindsight bias. Soc Cognition. 2007; 25: 14–31.

29. Wood G. The knew-it-all-along effect. J Exp Psychol Human. 1978; 4: 345–353.

30. Gilbert J. Hindsight bias in the 2012 United States presidential election. MPS. 2013; 19(4).

31. Sharot T, Korn CW, Dolan RJ. How unrealistic optimism is maintained in the face of reality. Nat Neurosci. 2011; 14(11): 1475–1479. doi: 10.1038/nn.2949 21983684

32. Garrett N, Sharot T. Optimistic update bias holds firm: Three tests of robustness following Shah et al. Conscious Cogn. 2017; 50: 12–22. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2016.10.013 27836628

33. Pohl RF. Disentangling hindsight bias. In Cavarni J-P, Bar-Hillel M, Barron FH, Jungermann H (Eds.), Contributions to decision making (Vol. 1). Amsterdam: Elsevier. 1995; pp. 323–334.

34. Hell W, Gigerenzer G, Gauggel S, Mall M, Muller M. Hindsight bias: An interaction of automatic and motivational factors? Mem Cognition. 1988; 16: 533–538.

35. Sharot T, Kanai R, Marston D, Korn CW, Rees G, Dolan RJ. Selectively altering belief formation in the human brain. P Natl Acad Sci USA. 2012; 109: 17058–17062.

36. Anderson MC, Ochsner KN, Kuhl B, Cooper J, Robertson E, Gabrieli SW, Glover GH, Gabrieli JD. Neural systems underlying the suppression of unwanted memories. Science. 2004; 303: 232–235. doi: 10.1126/science.1089504 14716015

37. D’Esposito M, Postle BR, Jonides J, Smith EE. The neural substrate and temporal dynamics of interference effects in working memory as revealed by event-related functional MRI. P Natl Acad Sci USA. 1999; 96: 7514–7519.

38. Aron AR, Robbins TW, Poldrack RA. Inhibition and the right inferior frontal cortex. Trends Cogn Sci. 2004; 8: 170–177. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2004.02.010 15050513

39. Campbell JD, Tesser A. Motivational interpretations of hindsight bias: An individual difference analysis. J Pers. 1983; 51: 605–620.

40. Kurkela KA, Dennis NA. Event-related fMRI studies of false memory: An Activation Likelihood Estimation meta-analysis. Neuropsychologia. 2016; 81: 149–167. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.12.006 26683385

Článek vyšel v časopise


2019 Číslo 10
Nejčtenější tento týden