Is there in psychology an explanation and/or term that describes the phenomena that exists where people perceive a solution to a problem as “simple” after the solution has been found? I have noticed in my many years of working with people that there are some who claim the solution to a problem was “simple” - and take great pride in this - but only after the solution has been found. Of course, many things seem “simple” or “obvious” after they are known.

Example: Fixing a car.

A mechanic needs to fix a car the problem area of which he does not know “specifically” but “generally” and he has to test each part he removes. The parts are A, B, C, D and E. He has to remove parts B, C, D and E just to get to part A, all of which are time-consuming to remove (except part A). Part A turns out to be the faulty part and it’s easy to replace - just two screws. The boss (who is a mechanic himself but with higher rank within the company) says that the repair was “simple” - just had to change part A.

(Think an electrical system issue - battery, alternator, starter, starter relay).

Is that “oversimplification bias”? I don’t know if such a bias exists.


1 Answer 1


As @Arnon suggested in the comments, this looks to be a case of the hindsight bias, especially given the reference to "hindsight is 20/20" in a comment.

Via Wikipedia:

Hindsight bias, also known as the knew-it-all-along phenomenon[1] or creeping determinism,[2] refers to the common tendency for people to perceive events that have already occurred as having been more predictable than they actually were before the events took place.[3][4] As a result, people often believe, after an event has occurred, that they would have predicted, or perhaps even would have known with a high degree of certainty, what the outcome of the event would have been, before the event occurred.


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