Reducing the hindsight bias utilizing attorney closing arguments

Law Hum Behav. 1998 Dec;22(6):671-83. doi: 10.1023/a:1025706823554.


In the legal system, jurors are asked to render a decision after the event in question has already occurred and the final outcome, typically negative, is known. This "after-the-fact" structure of the legal system makes jurors susceptible to a human judgment phenomenon known as hindsight bias. This study focused on reducing hindsight bias in a courtroom context by incorporating a debiasing strategy within the defense's closing argument. Subjects viewed one of three videotaped versions of plaintiff and defense closing arguments in a commercial litigation case (i.e., foresight condition, hindsight condition, and hindsight debiasing condition). Results indicate that the hindsight debiasing strategy was effective in reducing subject-juror hindsight bias.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Decision Making*
  • Education / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Judgment*
  • Jurisprudence*
  • Machiavellianism
  • Male
  • Peer Group*
  • Prejudice*
  • Videotape Recording