Saturday, November 13, 2010




: to utilize present information or ideas to infer or explain (a past event or state of affairs)

I was tempted initially to refer to RETRODICT as the opposite of predict, but it's more like the backwards version. The opposite of predict would be simply not to predict—to withhold the forecast of the future, to ignore the signs, to strap on the blinders. RETRODICT is to predict as hindsight is to foresight—the act of realizing the past through the present.

The act of RETRODICTION is quintessential in the concept of "hindsight bias." According to The Skeptic's Dictionary, hindsight bias refers to "the tendency to construct one's memory after the fact (or interpret the meaning of something said in the past) according to currently known facts and one's current beliefs." This concept also accounts for phrases such as, "If I knew then what I know now," and "Hindsight is always 20/20."*

The forerunning cousin of RETRODICT is, of course, retrospect—contemplation of the past; a survey of past time, events, etc. The latter would naturally precede the former, contemplation leading often to overanalyzation of some sort.

Then there is the issue of slipping on the rose tinted lenses—looking back and seeing only a perfect view of one's past. Idealization.

I don't know what any of this means. I'm just guiding this blog on a journey through active reminiscence.

* Of 11 different anchors, Barbara Walters had the longest running stint on ABC's 20/20, beating out Hugh Downs by 4 years.

No comments:

Post a Comment