Outcome Bias

The outcome bias is an error made in evaluating the quality of a decision when the outcome of that decision is already known. Specifically, the outcome effect occurs when the same “behavior produce[s] more ethical condemnation when it happen[s] to produce bad rather than good outcome, even if the outcome is determined by chance.”

While similar to the hindsight bias, the two phenomena are markedly different. The hindsight bias focuses on memory distortion to favor the actor, while the outcome bias focuses exclusively on weighting the past outcome heavier than other pieces of information in deciding if a past decision was correct.


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