Decisions and Hindsight

Have trouble making a decision? Do you always look back with hindsight bias? Often think you made the wrong choice or would have made a better choice given another chance?

I think it helps to think about decisions using the Observer effect in mind. What I mean is that you can state the decision making process like this:

¬† “The act of making a decision, effects the decision being made.”

From that perspective, it isn’t just the decision itself, but the act of considering and making the decision that leads to the result. From this perspective, hindsight simply doesn’t apply the same way. The suitability of the decision has to be considered in the context of the situation in which it was made.

An example of what I mean is when you go to dinner with a group of people, and you place an order for your meal. The act of making this decision impacts the result. If you consult with the group, you may find a better option. If you don’t you might think yourself more “unique” but might regret what comes out and envy what other people have ordered.

Hindsight would suggest that if you are unhappy with the meal, you simply made the wrong choice. But context is very important here.¬†Would your decision “feel” better or worse based on how you went about making it? For example, whether you ordered first or last, saw other people’s meals as they came out, asked for opinions, or otherwise had your expectations changed as you went about deciding?

More importantly, didn’t the act of making the decision change your expectations?