Prospective hindsight involves generating an explanation for a future event as if it had already happened; i.e., one goes forward in time, and then looks back. In order to examine how shifts in perspective might influence people's perceptions of events, we investigated two possible factors: temporal perspective (whether an event is set in the future or past) and uncertainty (whether the event's occurrence is certain or uncertain). In the first experiment, temporal perspective showed little influence while outcome uncertainty strongly affected the nature of explanations for events. Explanations for sure events tended to be longer, to contain a higher proportion of episodic reasons, and to be expressed in past tense. Evidence from the second experiment supports the view that uncertainty mediates not the amount of time spent explaining, but rather subjects' choice of explanation type. The implications of these findings for the use of temporal perspective in decision aiding are discussed.
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 1989
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