"I couldn't have seen it coming": The impact of negative self-relevant outcomes on retrospections about foreseeability

Melvin M. Mark, Renee Reiter Boburka, Kristen M. Eyssell, Laurie L. Cohen, Steven Mellor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

We examined a phenomenon related to hindsight bias, specifically, retrospective judgements about the foreseeability of an outcome. We predicted that negative, self-relevant outcomes would be judged as less foreseeable by the recipient of the outcome than by others, unlike either positive outcomes or outcomes that are not self-relevant. In the context of a "stock market decision-making game", the hypothetical stock selected by one of two players showed an extreme increase or decrease. As predicted, the player who received an extreme negative outcome reported that this outcome was less foreseeable than did the opponent and an observer, for whom the outcome was less self-relevant. For no other kind of outcome was there a difference between the recipient of an outcome, the opponent, and the observer. The findings have several implications, including the possibility that hindsight bias should be considered as a special case of retrospective foreseeability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-454
Number of pages12
JournalMemory
Volume11
Issue number4-5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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