On being a know-it-all

I recently signed up for a Social Psychology course on Coursera. Of all the concepts it discusses, I am particularly drawn towards a certain concept named ‘The Hindsight Bias‘. It is also interestingly called ‘I knew-it-all-along effect’. A piece of reading for the course quoted an example from a Sherlock Holmes story, “It is easy to be wise after the event”. That, is hindsight bias.

How often we’ve felt, after hearing of something, – a piece of information or the result of a research – that we had known it all along? It would be obvious, but we wouldn’t have been able to guess before being informed. It happens so often that we hardly realize that it is a condition that has been technically named and studied in the field of Social Psychology.

That’s the beauty of the subject, it has a sane explanation to even the most common occurrences that we dismiss carelessly.

This particular condition is something that I have experienced many times, but I didn’t know that it was just a common happening and that it is totally normal for us to assume that we are all know-it-alls.


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