SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 4.1: Alquist, J. L., Ainsworth, S. E., Baumeister, R. F., Daly, M., & Stillman, T. F. (2015). The making of might-have-beens: Effects of free will belief on counterfactual thinkingPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41, 268–283.


Abstract: Counterfactual thoughts are based on the assumption that one situation could result in multiple possible outcomes. This assumption underlies most theories of free will and contradicts deterministic views that there is only one possible outcome of any situation. Three studies tested the hypothesis that stronger belief in free will would lead to more counterfactual thinking. Experimental manipulations (Studies 1-2) and a measure (Studies 3-4) of belief in free will were linked to increased counterfactual thinking in response to autobiographical (Studies 1, 3, and 4) and hypothetical (Study 2) events. Belief in free will also predicted the kind of counterfactuals generated. Belief in free will was associated with an increase in the generation of self and upward counterfactuals, which have been shown to be particularly useful for learning. These findings fit the view that belief in free will is promoted by societies because it facilitates learning and culturally valued change.

Journal Article 4.2: Roese, N. J., & Vohs, K. D. (2012). Hindsight bias. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 7, 411–426.


Abstract: Hindsight bias occurs when people feel that they ”knew it all along,” that is, when they believe that an event is more predictable after it becomes known than it was before it became known. Hindsight bias embodies any combination of three aspects: memory distortion, beliefs about events’ objective likelihoods, or subjective beliefs about one’s own prediction abilities. Hindsight bias stems from (a) cognitive inputs (people selectively recall information consistent with what they now know to be true and engage in sensemaking to impose meaning on their own knowledge), (b) metacognitive inputs (the ease with which a past outcome is understood may be misattributed to its assumed prior likelihood), and (c) motivational inputs (people have a need to see the world as orderly and predictable and to avoid being blamed for problems). Consequences of hindsight bias include myopic attention to a single causal understanding of the past (to the neglect of other reasonable explanations) as well as general overconfidence in the certainty of one’s judgments. New technologies for visualizing and understanding data sets may have the unintended consequence of heightening hindsight bias, but an intervention that encourages people to consider alternative causal explanations for a given outcome can reduce hindsight bias.

Journal Article 4.3: Dale, S. (2015). Heuristics and biases: The science of decision-making. Business Information Review32, 93–99.


Abstract: A heuristic is a word from the Greek meaning “to discover.” It is an approach to problem-solving that takes one’s personal experience into account. Heuristics provide strategies to scrutinize a limited number of signals and/or alternative choices in decision-making. Heuristics diminish the work of retrieving and storing information in memory and of streamlining the decision-making process by reducing the amount of integrated information necessary in making the choice or passing judgement. However, whilst heuristics can speed up our problem-solving and decision-making processes, they can introduce errors and bias judgements. This article looks at commonly used heuristics and their human psychology origins. Understanding how heuristics work can give us better insight into our personal biases and influences and (perhaps) lead to better problem-solving and decision-making.