Knew It All Along: With Guests Kathleen Vohs, Douglas Porch & Julian Jackson

April 29, 2019
Hindsight is 20/20, the saying goes. But occurrences that appear inevitable after the fact rarely seemed so in real time.

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After you listen

Timing the markets is nearly impossible, which is why time in the markets is key.

  • Listen to the Financial Decoder podcast to hear Mark Riepe and guests share strategies for overcoming biases in your financial life.

Timing the markets is nearly impossible, which is why time in the markets is key.

  • Listen to the Financial Decoder podcast to hear Mark Riepe and guests share strategies for overcoming biases in your financial life.

Think about a time when something happened that just seemed meant to be. Maybe you had a feeling that your child would get into a certain college. Perhaps you just knew that your partner would forget to pack something important for your vacation. The question is, did you really know it along?

In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we explore a tendency to be overconfident in our predictions about events that have already come to pass.

  • We begin with the story of the fall of France. In the early days of World War II, the French surrendered a mere six weeks after the German invasion. How did one of the great European powers fall so quickly? Shortly after the end of hostilities in France, historians began to construct a narrative to explain this rapid defeat. That narrative focused on unflattering perceptions of French society and culture at the time. Historian Julian Jackson of Queen Mary University of London explains the origins of this line of thinking. 
  • Then we hear from military historian and Distinguished Professor Emeritus Douglas Porch of the Naval Postgraduate School about the Mechelen Incident—an event leading up to the German invasion that could have easily altered the trajectory of the war.
  • Next, we conduct an audio experiment to demonstrate this tendency to revise our own predictions. Along with our participants, you'll hear a distorted audio clip and then the undistorted version. As you listen to the experiment, try to remember what it was like to be naive about the content of the clip. It’s not easy!
  • Kathleen Vohs of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota joins Katy to discuss the broader implications of this bias on how we make important decisions.
  • Finally, Katy provides some simple strategies to help you avoid falling prey to this bias.

Choiceology is an original podcast from Charles Schwab.

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