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The Hindsight Bias And The Influential Factors In Simulated Legal Decision-making

Posted on:2011-01-11Degree:DoctorType:Dissertation
Country:ChinaCandidate:W W PengFull Text:PDF
GTID:1116330332985071Subject:Basic Psychology
Abstract/Summary:PDF Full Text Request
The term hindsight bias describes the observation that people are often wise only after the event. When people with outcome knowledge make judgments about the prior predictability of the outcome, they often fall victim to hindsight bias—The tendency to exaggerate the likelihood of a given outcome compared to its foresight predictability. With the benefit of hindsight, people not only rate the given outcome as more foreseeable, but are also more likely to remember event information that is consistent with the reported outcome and rate that information as more influential. Meanwhile, they minimize, discount, or even forget event information that is inconsistent with the reported outcome.The legal decision-making is that in trial of legal cases, the parties relating to the case (witnesses or experts), and the judicial personnel (judges and jurors) make their judgment of the defendants'actions in the case on the base of facts, evidence and the law, which forms a legally binding decision-making result. Because the very nature of our legal system is to assess blame or responsibility after an outcome has occurred, there are numerous ways in which hindsight bias can exert its influence on legal decision-makers. Judges and jurors in legal justice always face a difficult challenge which they must ignore outcomes and judge the defendant's pre-outcome actions in a fair way. Can they disregard outcome information, or does this knowledge bias their decisions? This is where the original purpose of this study was conducted.Based on the current experimental research findings of the influential factors on hindsight bias and combined with the specificity of legal decision-making, in four experiments, two-factors between-subjects hypothetical design was adopted, in which different event outcomes, the severity of negative outcomes, indirect self-relevance and control locus of mentality, four objective and subjective factors were selected as the object of investigation for the influential factors on hindsight bias in simulated legal decision-making. At the same time, through the use of strategies the study further explored the effectiveness of the selected two debiasing strategies under the effects of different factors in different cases.The results showed that:(1) Hindsight bias not only existed in the decision-making of purchase behavior of Chinese subjects that was confirmed by the author's previous study, but also in the simulated legal decision-making with specific scenarios, which had some stability.(2) Neutral, positive and negative event outcomes resulted in the difference of hindsight bias in simulated legal decision-making. Under the condition of different event outcomes, compared to neutral outcome situation, mock judges in negative outcome situation generated obviously greater hindsight bias for the cases'decision-making and showed less hindsight bias in positive outcome situation.(3) The severity of a negative outcome could have dramatic effects on the size of hindsight bias, with larger bias resulting from more severe negative outcomes. With the increasing of the severity of event negative outcomes, the intensity of hindsight bias enhanced significantly. In the serious injuries of event negative outcome, the greatest hindsight bias appeared.(4) In simulated judges'decision-making, the indirect self-relevance had its significant influence on hindsight bias of the fault determination of defendants. Compared with positive indirect relevancy and irrelevancy, more mock judges made legal decision to judge the existence of the fault of the defendants'actions in both legal cases, and assessed significantly higher value of severity of the fault in negative indirect relevancy.(5) The different control locus of mentality was also the influencing factor which caused the difference of hindsight bias in legal decision-making. Compared to mock judges with external control locus, more mock judges with internal control locus made the legal decision to determine the fault of the defendants'actions in two legal cases, therefore leading to relatively greater hindsight bias appeared.(6) Under the influence of different factors, the admonition from the experimenter in order to interrupt participants anchoring from the outcome knowledge that was the special instruction, as well as considering the alternative results and analyzing their negative influence on the parties could reduce the hindsight bias of the mock judges in legal decision-making effectively in different legal cases. However, there was no significant difference between the two debiasing strategies.
Keywords/Search Tags:legal decision-making, hindsight bias, influential factor, debiasing strategy
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