Hindsight 40 years on: An interview with Baruch Fischhoff

Klein, Olivier; Hegarty, Peter and Fischhoff, Baruch (2017). Hindsight 40 years on: An interview with Baruch Fischhoff. Memory Studies, 10(3) pp. 249–260.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1750698017701606

Abstract

This article presents an interview with decision scientist Baruch Fischhoff, who pioneered research on the hindsight bias—the tendency to view an event as more predictable, inevitable or likely once it has taken place. Fischhoff traces his early research on hindsight biases, conducted in Israel in the early 1970s at the beginning of Kahneman and Tversky’s influential research program in judgment and decision making. We revisit his less-known writings about social psychologists’ attributions about the decision making of leaders regarding pivotal military decisions and Fischhoff’s own engagement in security and risk analysis after 11 September. Fischhoff distinguishes two views of past events, a historian’s sense of the past as a series of distinct events and the behavioral scientist’s view of events as falling into “equivalence classes,” allowing for meaningful predictions that outcomes of past events would replicate. We discuss the contribution of decision science to the problematic and contemporary controversies surrounding replicability in experimental social psychology.

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