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post hoc ergo propter hoc

Subject: Philosophy

(Latin, after this, so because of this)

The fallacy of arguing that because one event happened after another, it happened because of it.

Psychology and Security

Psychology and Security   Reference library

Jonathan Mercer

The International Studies Encyclopedia

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
Social sciences, Politics, Warfare and Defence
11,371 words

...interpretations of new information. Jervis ( 1976 ) emphasized how predispositions influence learning and noted that people typically pay more attention to what happened rather than why it happened: “Thus learning is superficial, overgeneralized, and based on post hoc ergo propter hoc reasoning” ( 1976 :228). Decision makers tend to associate dramatic causes with dramatic events, to attribute cause to whatever is most salient, to overemphasize one’s own role in an outcome, to pay little attention to nonevents (such as wars that do not happen), and to...