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Working memory and the memory distortion component of hindsight bias

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One component of hindsight bias is memory distortion: Individuals' recollections of their predictions are biased towards known outcomes. The present study examined the role of working memory in the memory distortion component of hindsight bias. Participants answered almanac-like questions, completed a measure of working memory capacity, were provided with the correct answers, and attempted to recollect their original judgements in two conditions: with and without a concurrent working memory load. Participants' recalled judgements were more biased by feedback when they recalled these judgements with a concurrent memory load and working memory capacity was negatively correlated with memory distortion. These findings are consistent with reconstruction accounts of the memory distortion component of hindsight bias and, more generally, with dual process theories of cognition. These results also relate the memory distortion component of hindsight bias with other cognitive errors, such as source monitoring errors, the belief bias in syllogistic reasoning and anchoring effects. Implications for the separate components view of hindsight bias are discussed.
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Keywords: Dual-processes; Hindsight bias; Memory distortion; Working memory

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: California State University, San Marcos, CA, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2012

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