Outcome Bias


DEFINITION of 'Outcome Bias'

A decision based on the outcome of previous events without regard to how the past events developed. Outcome bias does not involve analysis of the factors that lead to a previous event, and instead de-emphasizes the events preceding the outcomes and overemphasizes the outcome. Unlike hindsight bias, outcome bias does not involve the distortion of past events.  

BREAKING DOWN 'Outcome Bias'

Outcome bias can be more dangerous than hindsight bias in that it only looks at outcomes. For example, an investor decides to invest in real estate after learning a colleague made a large return on investment in real estate when interest rates were at a different level. Rather than look at other factors that could have resulted in the colleague’s success, such as the health of the overall economy or performance of real estate, the investor is focusing on the money made by the colleague.

Gamblers also fall prey to outcome bias. While statistically casinos come out on top, many gamblers use anecdotal "evidence" from friends and acquaintances to justify their continued playing. This outcome bias, that continuing to play could result in winning a large amount of money, prevents the gambler from leaving the casino. 

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