USF St. Petersburg campus Honors Program Theses (Undergraduate)

First Advisor

Major Professor: Mark Pezzo, Ph. D


University of South Florida St. Petersburg

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Although hindsight bias is a very specific and narrow field of interest, there seems to be conflicting ideologies, results, and theories. Of particular interest for this paper is hindsight bias in regards to the 2016 Presidential Elections. I propose to analyze data collected on an ongoing study by Dr. Mark Pezzo in the Social Judgement Lab. The study asks participants, both before and after, the presidential election to indicate their: political party, preference of candidate, likelihood that the candidate, Donald Trump, would win, estimated percentage of vote that each candidate would receive, and demographic information for research purposes. After the preelection data, has been collected, another data collection will occur gaining information on participants' emotional response to the outcome of the election, the degree the outcome "makes sense" to the participant, and three questions that will effectively capture foreseeability.

Normally hindsight bias would be predicted for all study participants, but due to the level of surprise the election outcome created, it is predicted that it may be difficult for people to make sense of it, therefore participants may show little hindsight bias, or may even show reverse hindsight bias. Hindsight bias, reverse bias, retroactive pessimism, cognitive mechanism, sensemaking, and exploratory analyses will all be investigated into detail.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the University of South Florida St. Petersburg Honors College

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