Looking Backward in Punitive Judgments: 20–20 Vision?

Reid Hastie, David A. Schkade and John W. Payne

in Punitive Damages

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780226780146
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226780160 | DOI:
Looking Backward in Punitive Judgments: 20–20 Vision?

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This chapter explores a common judgmental phenomenon that is likely to play a particularly important role in judging recklessness: the hindsight effect. Because liability for punitive damages can depend so heavily on inferences about the defendant's ex ante state of mind, the chapter reports on an experimental investigation of the hindsight bias within the context of jurors' judgments of liability for punitive damages. It also extends prior work on hindsight bias by examining whether such a bias is found for other specific judgments that are important in the context of punitive damages: foreseeability of an accident, conscious awareness of grave danger, and gross deviation from an ordinary level of care. In addition to the basic question of a hindsight effect on various punitive damages judgments, the study also investigates the following questions: Does the magnitude of the harm that was caused by an accident affect the size of any hindsight bias? Does asking a person to assume the role of a juror as compared to a citizen whose personal judgment is being elicited reduce the size of any hindsight bias?

Keywords: recklessness; hindsight bias; punitive damages; punitive judgment; juror; personal judgment

Chapter.  4901 words. 

Subjects: Company and Commercial Law

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