Scotland were always bound to lose to Australia, right? Wrong

So it’s happened again. Scotland lost the rugby to Australia; albeit narrowly, albeit on a disputed penalty in the final minute. But, we find ourselves thinking, it was surely close to inevitable. After all, Australia just about always end up beating Scotland, one way or another. It’s fate.

Yet the fact that we feel inexorably attracted to this conclusion tells us more about human psychology than it does about rugby. One powerful psychological force is hindsight bias: in retrospect, whatever actually happens starts to seem close to inevitable.

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Nick Chater
Professor of Behavioural Science