Cognitive processes operating in hindsight



The aim of this investigation was to study the cognitive processes involved in the “knew-it-all-along” effect, especially in regard to use of inferential processes. The results of three experiments showed that the magnitude of the phenomenon did not increase with more use of inferential processes. It is proposed that only under misleading circumstances do inferential processes associated with overconfidence increase the magnitude of the phenomenon. For a majority of the tasks introspectively classified as solved by pure guessing, the hindsight phenomenon entirely disappeared whereas "intuition" tasks lead to the strongest bias. The results are generally consistent with the accuracy-assessment model (A. Winman et al., 1998).