Failure to assess alternative outcomes of events prevents people from narcissism to understand that they did something wrong, and eventually leads to the fact that their mistakes they do not learn. It found American scientists, who conducted a series of experiments involving almost a thousand volunteers: these participants were asked to choose a candidate and then evaluate their actions based on the results of its performance. For example, if the candidate has not met expectations, daffodils justified it by mistake reverse hindsite (“no one could have predicted that would happen”), which arise just from the fact that they were confident in their rightness. Article published in Journal of Management.
Error hindsite is one of the most common cognitive distortions: the susceptible person is inclined to believe that the outcome of the event was obvious from the beginning. There also exists the opposite error of hindsite: unlike the original cognitive distortions, affected people tend to conclude that the outcome of an event to predict could neither he, nor anyone else.
In fact, she and the other error may be a kind of ways of protect their own position, on the one hand, and to enhance their status in their own eyes and the eyes of others, on the other: using the error (or mistake) of hindsite people always either is right or is wrong only in the case when being right was impossible in principle.
Despite the fact that this feature of thinking might look attractive to people who do not like to be right, but in reality she is like any other cognitive distortion — very much hinders the thinking process. The fact that the belief in the inevitability of the coming events (“on-to another could not be”) is contrary to critical thinking and analysis of their own actions: in other words, the person who initially convinced that otherwise could not (no matter how happened), may at any time to get into the same situation with a possible negative outcome (no findings, of course, he will not do again).
Interestingly, the error hindsite quite often exposed to a certain category of people — daffodils (this, in turn, is about narcissism as a character trait, not a diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder). Moreover, the confidence of daffodils in their own right and infallibility of action and judgments and also leads to the fact that their mistakes they do not learn.
The relationship between narcissism, error hindsite and inability to learn from their mistakes may seem obvious (at least its existence), but it is not clear what it is due. Satoris Hawes (Howes Satoris) from the University of Oregon and her colleagues suggested that it might be that Narcissus weakened contradictive thinking — the ability to think of alternative outcomes of the already occurred events. Contradictive thinking is a very important part of the “work on mistakes”, without an understanding of what the situation could be different, people cannot learn from the situation.
To test their hypothesis, the researchers conducted four experiments in which took part 727 of volunteers: each of them filled the questionnaire, which the scientists then established, which is characteristic for participant narcissism (again, it should be clarified that it was not about the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder).
In the first experiment, participants were given descriptions of two candidates for certain positions: volunteers were asked to decide which of them you need to hire. The participants were informed that the work took both candidates and provided them with information about how they cope with the work. Half of the participants said that their employment is worse than the other; the second half of the participants reported that their candidate is better.
After the task participants were asked to fill out a survey on the subject of whether their expectations about the candidate actually, as well as surveys on contradictive thinking and error hindsite: it should was on a scale from 1 to 5 to rate agreement with statements like “I had better assess his ability” (for contrafactual thinking) and “Based on the information that was given to me, I knew exactly which candidate better” (for hindsite).
It turned out that daffodils often take their assumptions as obvious (i.e. have been subjected to the error hindsite) if their assumption was correct and that the applicant has been successful (p < 0.01). If the assumptions were wrong, and daffodils, and other volunteers used the conclusion that predicting the outcome was impossible.
In addition, narcissism is negatively correlated with contrafactual thinking (p < 0.01), but only if assumptions are proved wrong. From this, scientists concluded that in the case when the daffodils are wrong, they can’t assess some other options for the outcome of events — and it leads to the opposite error of hindsite, according to which the outcome was impossible to predict. On the other hand, do not suffer from the narcissism of people, when wrong, you can think about what can be done differently — and understand that you received a negative outcome it was possible to predict (and probably be correct). In the case that the outcome was positive, neither the one nor the other to analyze the actions is not necessary.
In the second experiment, the researchers successfully reproduced the results of the first, and also tested an additional hypothesis that narcissists can’t learn from their mistakes because of the lack of ability to contrafactual thinking and its impact on the error hindsite — but only when their assumptions are proven wrong. For this purpose, after the experiment is similar to the first task, the scientists also asked the participants to rate how much they had actually learned.
It turned out that the failure to assess alternatives and bug hindsite in fact led to the fact that the daffodils are less likely than other volunteers (p < 0.01), understanding of the experience of the situation, it is necessary to extract it — but only if their predictions were wrong. Work, so that daffodils really are unable to learn from their experiences — or rather, their mistakes.
In the third experiment, the scientists reproduced the results of the second. Also in the survey on contradictive thinking they added further questions: along with “I should have been foreseeable that this would happen”, they used “I was able to foresee that this would happen”. The wording of the second kind — more free, as it imposes on the man less guilty than the first, which is weaker related to the analysis of their actions: people can say what could be done differently, with the only aim to defend themselves, without making any conclusions. The result was that the lack of contrafactual thinking affects hindsight and the ability to learn from mistakes have daffodils just in case the wording of “I had” not “I could” — presumably just due to the fact that the first version implies more charges himself, which narcissists are not capable.
To assess a causal relationship between contrafactual thinking and decisions, in the fourth experiment, the researchers used a priming. Immediately after the participants were chosen candidate (but before they announced the decision), they were asked to make grammatically correct sentences from a set of words, one of which is superfluous. For example, in the condition of priming contrafactual thinking for the compilation used the words “he”, “try”, “flat”, “better” and “should” (of which you can make, “he must try harder”), and in a neutral condition, the words “I”, “ice cream”, “nettle”, “want”, “eat” (“I want to eat ice cream”). The analysis showed that if scientists primili contrafaction the thinking of the participants, they were less prone to error hindsite (scientists, however, clarified that the statistical power may not be enough in order to draw accurate conclusions about cause-and-effect relationships).
Thus, scientists have confirmed that the daffodils are more prone to error hindsite in that case, if their assumptions had been correct, and reverse the error of hindsite — in if proved wrong. While such a relationship is governed by the inability to assessment of alternatives for their actions — that is, to contrafactual thinking. Such thinking requires not only analysis of their own actions and their consequences, but also imposes on the person a certain feeling of guilt that the daffodils are trying to avoid. His absence, in turn, hinders learning from their mistakes.
In other words, narcissists are not able to understand that they did something wrong, because its action alternatives, they do not see, and therefore their mistakes they do not learn. If something goes wrong, do not blame them: in their opinion, in such situations of loss cannot be avoided. In case of success, to analyze their actions is simply not necessary (due to the error hindsite narcissist is always right) — however, according to the scientists, it can manifest in people without narcissistic tendencies.
And daffodils tend to approve of social inequality: in 2016, scientists have found that this happens because they thinkthat should occupy a higher place in the hierarchy.