Submitted by editor on Mon, 02/04/2018 - 11:53

Prof Robertson then took to the floor and gave a fascinating presentation on hindsight bias, noting that over 800 papers have been published on the topic (across many different fields, not just patents). The audience learned that hindsight bias is very much part of human nature. Further, this issue is not restricted to mere mortals, but experts and judges have the same problems (and sometimes worse). It has been psychologically proven that once we know that a particular event has happened (e.g. an invention has been made), the facts which previously pointed away from that event happening become harder to remember. What's more, there is no strong evidence to suggest that any of us can reliably channel our mind to avoid hindsight bias- we cannot help ourselves. This is why blinding (and particularly double-blinding) is so important in clinical trials and also, for example, police line-ups.

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