The hindsight bias occurs when we tend to overestimate the probability of an event after it has occurred. Because of this, it is also referred to as the “knew-it-all-along effect.” Despite not being able to predict an event’s outcome before it happens, we often feel like after-the-fact we are able to clearly see the signs leading up to that particular outcome. For example, a girl opens her car door and accidentally taps the car parked next to hers. After assessing for damage, she feels she should have seen that coming considering the angle of the car and the distance of the neighboring car – despite the fact she’s parked in this same spot at the same distance hundreds of times before and prior to the event there was no reason to believe this would have happened (this is just an example and obviously not a personal example…). Other examples can include the outcome of experimental studies or historical events. The hindsight bias is also a form of memory distortion, as those of us experiencing it tend to misremember our original probability judgements of particular events.
Wasserman, D., Lempert, R. O., & Hastie, R. (1991). Hindsight and causality. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 17, 30-35.