Date of Award

Spring 6-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Forensic Psychology



First Advisor

Patricia Zapf

Second Reader

Diana Falkenbach

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Jeglic


The tendency for an individual to believe that a specific event, in hindsight, was more predictable than it was in foresight is known as hindsight bias. This phenomenon has been demonstrated in the psychological literature across a variety of samples, methodologies, and predictions for decades. The current study used a sample of 95 mental health professionals to explore the impact of advanced outcome knowledge on the decision making process. Participants reviewed a hypothetical risk assessment in the form of a hospital chart and then responded to a series of questions, using only their clinical judgment. Analyses revealed that evaluators who were provided with outcome information regarding risk assessment evaluations were significantly more likely to indicate that they would have predicted the outcome than evaluators who were not provided with outcome information. Additionally, evaluators with advanced outcome knowledge endorsed higher ratings for risk of violence than those individuals who were not provided with outcome information on the evaluee’s risk assessment. Implications for forensic evaluation and legal decision making are discussed and directions for future research presented.



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