Psychology and Investing: Confirmation Bias and Hindsight Bias

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Confirmation Bias

How do we look at information?

Too often we extrapolate our own beliefs without realizing it and engage in confirmation bias, or treating information that supports what we already believe, or want to believe, more favourably.

If we have purchased a certain stock in a certain sector, we may overemphasize positive information about the sector and discount whatever negative news we hear about how these stocks are expected to perform.

Hindsight Bias

This is the tendency to re-evaluate our past behavior surrounding an event or decision knowing the actual outcome.

Our judgment of a previous decision becomes biased to accommodate the new information. 

For example, knowing the outcome of a stock’s performance, we may adjust our reasoning for purchasing it in the first place. 

This type of “knowledge updating” can keep us from viewing past decisions as objectively as we should.

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