Hindsight Bias

I’m sure we have all experienced the individual, either in person or online, who always was just about to say the same as you. Such an individual can be very annoying:  they always are just as smart as you; they always were thinking the same thing as you; they might have answered the question first but were seeking the right words. Previously, I considered this a conscious action to say—Me Too, wave the flag, and in sort of a gratuitous manner allow others to make a point first. Now I read that this actually isn’t a character flaw but is a part of that fabulation which our brains perform, often without our even being suspicious of the naissant fiction.

Psychologists call this activity Hindsight Bias and it is a part of being human. When you learn things you wish you had thought of, the brain creates a story in which you knew those things all along. It’s not true but since it’s your own brain that is lying to you, you accept it as truth.

This gets interesting when you consider the political field:  are politicians lying with impunity when they tell stories about their past exploits and successes, or do they really believe their own lies because of this hindsight bias? There is a problem here, whether the lies are venal or understandable:  when the politician who has been represented as qualified is then elected and faced with a challenge he should be able to handle, he might discover that the fiction is will not save him.

There’s an interesting activity beginning to gain strength in parts of the country:  the politicians may speak out on many subjects but when they are elected, any strong deviation from the promises tends to waken the electorate and make the people angry. The politician might be working with fictions but the electorate has a long memory of facts. Do politicians consider the voting citizens gullible, too stupid to recognize lies or bait-and-switch tactics?  In places such as Wisconsin, we can see that this fiction is not holding up.

I’m beginning to wonder if this country is going to experience a revolution in the near future? One of the real ironies is that the NRA is constantly lobbying to keep guns in the hands of the population and is supported by the conservative factions, but the revolution I see is against those conservative factions. And when it comes, there will be guns. The Soviets did not win the Cold War but Nikita Khrushchev’s words still have a certain relevancy, “We will hang you … and you will sell us the rope.” How much are they charging now for a gun?

One thought on “Hindsight Bias

  1. I certainly do wish people would wake up and realize that the current crop of politicians are not doing anything to improve the average mans lot in life. Having been on this planet close to 6 decades I have come to the conclusion that most people are sheep.They follow the latest craze on the nightly news. The latest poll as to who they should vote for, or whatever talking head tells them is right. One need only look at the percentage of registered voters that actually exercise their hard fought right to cast ballots and it is discouraging. Or consider that many will vote against their own self interest. I cannot recall the title of the book but a political writer made that the focus of his book concerning the middle of America. I often see folks as easily distracted by events that do not matter but focusing instead on miniutae. I recently heard part of an interview with Kurt Cameron who lamented that gay marriage was leading to the down fall of America. Yet here in Colorado football fans are jumping to the rafters to celebrate the arrival of Peyton Manning at a mere 95 million dollars. I see those dollars that school districts could use, extending unemployment to those recently out of work, feeding the hungry.Cameron is wrong about the decline of America but the celebration of paying a man 95 million dollars to play a school yard game is obscene and further indication of what is wrong with people in this country.


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