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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2012 Oct;103(4):689-717. Epub 2012 Jul 30.

An integrative lens model approach to bias and accuracy in human inferences: hindsight effects and knowledge updating in personality judgments.

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Department of Psychology, University of Münster, Münster, Germany.


The present article integrates research on the accurate inference of personality traits with process models of hindsight bias (the tendency to exaggerate in hindsight what one had said in foresight). Specifically, the article suggests a new model that integrates assumptions of the lens model on accurate personality judgments and accounts that view hindsight effects as a by-product of knowledge updating. We suggest 3 processes that have the potential to explain the occurrence of hindsight effects in personality judgments: (a) changes in an individual's cue perceptions, (b) changes in the utilization of more valid cues, and (c) changes in the consistency with which cue knowledge is applied. In 2 studies (N1 = 91, N2 = 93), participants were presented with target pictures and were asked to judge each target's levels of the Big Five. Thereafter, they received feedback and had to recall their original judgments. Results show that there were clear hindsight effects for all 5 personality dimensions. Importantly, we found evidence that both the utilization of more valid cues and changes in cue perceptions--but not changes in the consistency with which cue knowledge is applied--account for the hindsight effects. Implications of these results for models explaining hindsight effects, the inference of personality judgments, and the accuracy of these inferences are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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