Hindsight Bias: 9/11

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One topic I found interesting in psychology up to this point was hindsight bias. Hindsight bias is defined as the tendency to overestimate how well we could have forecast known outcomes. One clear example of hindsight bias is the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. These attacks were conducted by the use of hijacked airplanes being crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. Immediately after the attacks, many politicians claimed that 9/11 could have been prevented. Really? No one could have foreseen the events of that day. Some have argued that the Gore Commission, which attempted to increase airline security, predicted these events. The fact is that even the Vice President, who has access to some of our country's most secure information sources, never saw 9/11 coming. At best, this commission fell victim to lobbying and numerous campaign contributions in the 2000 elections. As a result, many of the increased security initiatives the Gore Commission envisioned never came to be. Even if they had, who knows what would have happened? Many people become angered over the fact that through lobbying and monetary contributions, the airlines essentially influenced the government to not push through stricter security measures. In a capitalistic society, however, it is natural for the airlines to not want to lose money as a result of more extensive security processes such as screening and baggage matching. September 11 is arguably the most infamous event of the twenty first century. It also brought about in a new type of global warfare, based on ideals, rather then more traditional things like natural resources or land acquisition. An event this horrific and influential could never have been predicted.

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