COVID-19 Resource Center

Hindsight is 20/20

2011Article
Defense Research Institute Asbestos Medicine Seminar

Hindsight bias refers to the tendency people have to view events as more predictable than they really are.  After an event, people often believe that they knew the outcome of the event before it actually happened.  While the phenomenon has been demonstrated repeatedly in connection with sporting events and political races, it also influences jury selection and how jurors interpret evidence during trial.

Most jurors will recognize the saying “hindsight is 20/20.”  Some might even realize how hindsight bias or their lifetime of experience and knowledge impacts how they listen to and interpret the evidence.  For jurors to properly judge acts from 40-50 years ago, they must understand at the outset that the issues that they must decide at trial involve acts 40-50 years ago and that their verdict should not be swayed by the benefit of hindsight and present day knowledge.