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The Field Guide to Understanding Human Error, 2nd Edition by Sidney Dekker

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3 The Hindsight Bias

Have you ever caught yourself asking, “How could they not have noticed?” or “How could they not have known?” Then you were reacting to failure. And to understand failure, you first have to understand your reactions to failure.

We all react to failure. In fact, our reactions to failure often make that we see human error as the cause of a mishap; they promote the Bad Apple Theory. Failure, or people doing things with the potential for failure, is generally not something we expect to see. It surprises us; it does not fit our assumptions about the system we use or the organization we work in. It goes against our beliefs. As a result, we try to reduce that surprise—we react to failure.

To understand failure, you must first understand ...

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