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Hindsight and Outcome Bias

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Category: Human Behaviour Human Behaviour
Content source: SKYbrary About SKYbrary
Content control: SKYbrary About SKYbrary


Hindsight bias and outcome bias sound similar but they are different concepts. Hindsight bias is a cognitive bias involving a tendency to overestimate one’s ability to have predicted an outcome or result that could not have been predicted before the event took place. Hindsight bias can lead someone to believe that an event was more predictable that it was and can result in an over-simplification of cause and effect. With hindsight bias the correct choice or decisions seems obvious after the fact when it wasn’t at the time the decision was made.

Outcome bias is a cognitive bias that refers to the tendency to judge a decision based on its outcome rather than basing it on an assessment of the quality of the decision at the time it was made. Outcome bias can arise when a decision is based on the outcome of previous events without taking into account how the past events developed.

Outcome bias could have a negative impact on safety reporting because the outcome of an event or incident may influence whether a report is made.

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