Archive for April, 2008

Hindsight Bias

A very good friend of mine read my last blog entry and sent me a wonderful email. In it, she said that she understands the ‘unforgiveness’ of it all and detailed a social psychology principle to aid in the forgiveness process.

Hindsight bias is the prejudice we all have when we look at something that happened when we already know the outcome. Since I already had a stroke, it seems very obvious to me now that based on all the symptoms I had (blindness while running with it going away when I put my head below my heart [dissected carotid]; TIAs; etc.), I should have seen what was coming. However, the doc I went to didn’t catch it and he’s no slouch; Bob noticed something was off but couldn’t figure out what was going on and certainly couldn’t have predicted a stroke; I knew something was off, but I was very good at pushing through something (pain, dizziness, etc.).

In the medical field, when a diagnosis is finally provided, doctors who don’t know the case or the outcome and who are only presented with the symptoms are unable to diagnose as well; this is a well-researched principle with examples from the medical and judicial fields.

In order to work through something or to forgive someone, a person needs to be able to (for lack of better term) buy into or hang their hat on a reason or an excuse. I tend to be rational and logical and this principle with scientific research as a basis makes sense to me and provides me with a tool to work through and possibly forgive Bob and myself sooner than I, otherwise, could have.

Thank you, Carol!


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