Welcome Guest
Log In | Register )
You last visited December 9, 2016, 6:28 am
All times shown are
Eastern Time (GMT-5:00)

Streaks and the " HOT HAND "-article from Ny times

Topic closed. 10 replies. Last post 2 years ago by jimmy4164.

Page 1 of 1
53
PrintE-mailLink
Igamble's avatar - spider
nj
United States
Member #145657
August 10, 2013
979 Posts
Offline
Posted: June 28, 2014, 11:57 pm - IP Logged

 SCIENCE

That’s So Random: Why We Persist in Seeing Streaks

JUNE 26, 2014

 

Photo
N.B.A. legend Walt Frazier, right, has been vocal about the powers of hot hand.CreditDave Pickoff/Associated Press

 

Carl Zimmer

MATTER

 

 

From time to time, athletes get on a streak. Suddenly, the basketball goes through the net every time, or a batter gets a hit in every game. This blissful condition is often known as the hot hand, and players have come to believe it is real — so much so that they have made it a part of their strategy for winning games.

 

“On offense, if someone else has a hot hand, I constantly lay the ball on him,” wrote the N.B.A. legend Walt Frazier in his 1974 memoir, “Rockin’ Steady: A Guide to Basketball & Cool.”

 

In the 1980s, Thomas Gilovich, a psychologist at Cornell University, and his colleagues did a study of the hot hand. They confirmed that the vast majority of basketball players believed in it. The audiences at basketball games were also convinced. But then Dr. Gilovich and his colleagues analyzed the hot hand statistically, and it fell apart.

 

The hot hand was, they concluded, an illusion caused “by a general misconception of chance.”

Continue reading the main story

RELATED COVERAGE

 

  • More Matter Columns

 

Today, there still isn’t much evidence for a hot hand in basketball or beyond. But our belief in it is unquestionably real. Roulette players will bet on more numbers after they win than after they lose, psychologists have found. A store that issues a winning lottery ticket will tend to sell more lottery tickets afterward, economists have observed. Investors often assume that a rising stock’s price will keep rising.

 

Time and again, we don’t want to believe that streaks can be the result of pure chance — probably because the bias appears to be deeply ingrained in our minds, researchers say. Indeed, a new study in The Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition suggests that the hot hand phenomenon is so ancient that monkeys display it, too.

 

“What it suggests is that there’s something going back at least 25 million years,” said Benjamin Y. Hayden, a neuroscientist at Rochester University who wrote the study with his graduate student, Tommy C. Blanchard, and a psychologist at Clarkson University, Andreas Wilke.

 

 

The new study builds on earlier tests that Dr. Wilke and his colleagues carried out on people. In one such study, the scientists had volunteers play a computer game that showed a picture of either a pear or a bunch of cherries. The volunteers had to guess which fruit would appear next.

 

The order was random, and yet the volunteers tended to guess that the next fruit would be the same as the current one. In other words, they expected the fruit to arrive in streaks.

 

In another trial, Dr. Wilke and his colleagues let volunteers choose among different versions of the game so that they could increase their winnings. One version of the game was more likely to switch the fruit each time. As a result, the game had fewer streaks.

 

It should have been an easy game to win. All Dr. Wilke’s volunteers needed to do was guess that the next fruit would be different each time. And yet the volunteers tended to avoid the alternating game in favor of the random game, “where they see a pattern that doesn’t exist,” said Dr. Wilke.

 

 

Dr. Wilke and his colleagues argue that this mental quirk is a side effect of how our brains have evolved.

 

“Our idea is that the driving force of the hot hand phenomenon was our history of foraging,” said Dr. Wilke.

 

Our ancestors were constantly searching for food, either gathering plants or hunting animals. As they searched, they had to continually decide where to look next. The wrong choice could mean starvation.

 

Dr. Wilke argues that this threat led our ancestors to evolve some rules of thumb based on the fact that animals and plants aren’t scattered randomly across a landscape. Instead, they can be found in clumps.

 

That meant that if our ancestors picked up a fruit from the ground, they were likely to find more by looking nearby, rather than going somewhere else. As a result, they became very sensitive to these streaks. They were an indication that good fortune would keep coming.

 

On the other hand, if our ancestors kept looking in a place for food and found nothing, they could predict that another look wouldn’t yield anything to eat.

 

In the modern world, Dr. Wilke argues, we can’t get rid of this instinct to think that streaks will continue, even when we’re dealing with random patterns.

 

To vet this hypothesis, Dr. Wilke has collaborated with H. Clark Barrett of the University of California, Los Angeles, to give his hot hand tests to a group of people who live deep in the Amazon rain forest and depend in part on hunting and foraging for their food. They had the same bias found in American volunteers, suggesting that the hot hand phenomenon went beyond Western societies obsessed with basketball and slot machines.

 

Dr. Wilke’s latest experiment sought to test whether the hot hand bias was even more universal.

 

“The strongest test to see if it’s evolutionary is to find it in another species,” said Dr. Hayden, who studies how monkeys make decisions.

 

So, he and Dr. Wilke developed a game for monkeys to play. In each round, the monkeys saw either a purple rectangle on the left side of a computer screen or a blue rectangle on the right. In order to get a reward, the monkeys had to guess which rectangle would appear next, directing their gaze to the left or right side of the screen.

 

The monkeys played thousands of rounds, developing a strategy to get the biggest reward they could. And their performance revealed that they have a hot hand bias in their decision-making, researchers said.

 

When streaks were common, the scientists found, the monkeys learned to get a high score. In other versions of the game, with fewer streaks, they did worse. They couldn’t help guessing that a new rectangle would be the same as the previous one.

 

Dr. Barrett, who was not involved in the new study, cautioned that the results need to be replicated. Nevertheless, he agreed that it raised the possibility that foraging gave rise to the hot hand phenomenon millions of years ago.

 

“This may be a deep evolutionary history indeed, stretching back to before we were human,” Dr. Barrett said.

 

 

 

Similarly, Laurie Santos, a psychologist at Yale, said, “They’re on to something.” But she questioned whether the new study actually showed that monkeys experienced the same feeling as a basketball player on a streak.

 

Just because the monkeys expected the rectangles to come in streaks didn’t mean that they believed their own actions had anything to do with it. Some psychologists distinguish between these two effects, calling them “hot hands” and “hot outcomes.”

 

Dr. Santos was confident that Dr. Hayden and his colleagues could devise another experiment to test the two alternatives. “That’s harder, but Ben does all kinds of crazy things,” said Dr. Santos. “I’m sure he could find a way to do it.”

 

Dr. Wilke said that hot hands and hot outcomes both could have evolved from the same underlying rules of thumb for searching for food. By understanding their origins, we may be able to better understand the particular ways they influence our thinking today.

 

In the July issue of Evolution and Human Behavior, Dr. Wilke and his colleagues report that habitual gamblers have a stronger hot hand bias than non-gamblers. It might eventually be possible to predict who will be at risk of problem gambling by measuring hot hand bias in advance.

 

“That’s a first step into some sort of application of this research,” said Dr. Wilke.

 

  Hope you guys found this a helpfull  and intersting read .And this marks my 665+1 post at LP !

    Tialuvslotto's avatar - Jailin
    Texas
    United States
    Member #150797
    December 31, 2013
    815 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: June 29, 2014, 7:25 am - IP Logged

    Interesting article, Igamble.

    Sometimes it is rational to expect streaks, sometimes not.  You have to know the odds.

    For example, in Pick3, if you get zero digits repeating from the last game the odds of it happening again in the next game are 44%.  So you tend to see streaks of 2 or 3 in a row.

    OTOH, for 2 digits repeating from the last game, the odds of another 2 digit repeat are only 14%, so streaks are rare.

    So, if you know the odds you won't be expecting streaks when they are less likely, and you won't be surprised by a streak when it is more likely.

    Jack-in-the-Box

      Igamble's avatar - spider
      nj
      United States
      Member #145657
      August 10, 2013
      979 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: June 29, 2014, 12:19 pm - IP Logged

      Interesting article, Igamble.

      Sometimes it is rational to expect streaks, sometimes not.  You have to know the odds.

      For example, in Pick3, if you get zero digits repeating from the last game the odds of it happening again in the next game are 44%.  So you tend to see streaks of 2 or 3 in a row.

      OTOH, for 2 digits repeating from the last game, the odds of another 2 digit repeat are only 14%, so streaks are rare.

      So, if you know the odds you won't be expecting streaks when they are less likely, and you won't be surprised by a streak when it is more likely.

      Jack-in-the-Box

      Thanks  Tialuvslotto ! I  like your simple  and concise explanantion .

        Teddi's avatar - Lottery-008.jpg

        United States
        Member #142499
        May 13, 2013
        1186 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: June 29, 2014, 2:00 pm - IP Logged

        I just watched a documentary on the stock market regarding something similar. The argument was that analysts and laypeople alike invested based on past performance and not on facts. If a stock had a good history, people continued to buy it even when facts indicated that the stock could not continue to do so. The economists felt that this emotional investing was what created bubbles and why so many people get caught when that bubble bursts. 

        Your article helps explain why we do that and why I only buy tickets from stores I've won money from. Logically I know it makes no sense but emotionally, I stick to those stores. Thanks for posting.

          LottoMetro's avatar - Lottery-024.jpg
          Happyland
          United States
          Member #146344
          September 1, 2013
          1129 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: June 29, 2014, 2:12 pm - IP Logged

          Interesting article. It was briefly touched on, but monkeys also believe in winning streaks (another study performed by the same people in your article). 

          Over at the "Ask a Mathematician / Ask a Physicist" blog, they put together a short post addressing the confusion surrounding the likelihood of hot/cold streaks.

          You can read it here.

          If the chances of winning the jackpot are so slim, why play when the jackpot is so small? Your chances never change, but the potential payoff does.
          If a crystal ball showed you the future of the rest of your life, and in that future you will never win a jackpot, would you still play?

          2016: -48.28% (13 tickets) ||
          P&L % = Total Win($)/Total Wager($) - 1


            United States
            Member #93947
            July 10, 2010
            2180 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: June 29, 2014, 2:19 pm - IP Logged


            Igamble,

            Thanks for posting that.  Lottery players need an injection of science once in a while.  Unfortunately, there are many here who will reject this research because their need to believe otherwise is just too strong.

            --Jimmy4164

            P.S.  Thanks LottoMetro for your contribution.

              Teddi's avatar - Lottery-008.jpg

              United States
              Member #142499
              May 13, 2013
              1186 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: June 29, 2014, 3:46 pm - IP Logged


              Igamble,

              Thanks for posting that.  Lottery players need an injection of science once in a while.  Unfortunately, there are many here who will reject this research because their need to believe otherwise is just too strong.

              --Jimmy4164

              P.S.  Thanks LottoMetro for your contribution.

              I think when so many jackpot winners talk about buying their winning tickets on a hunch, I can understand why they would discount scientific evidence. Nothing about playing the lottery is logical.

              I might wake up early and go running.  I might also wake up and win the lottery.

              The odds are about the same.

                WIN  D's avatar - q05Q0
                Stone Mountain*Georgia
                United States
                Member #828
                November 2, 2002
                10491 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: June 29, 2014, 4:00 pm - IP Logged

                 Mankind has always seen patterns that were not there. Yes, but Science forgets to mention the other part of these old type stories.

                 

                    Always remember ....                          " Man has always seen patterns that really were there as well !" 

                                                                                                                               Win  d

                    That's the part that kills ya!  LOL 

                       That's also the part that takes Mankind forward. 

                             

                 

                 

                The only real failure .....is the failure to try.                               

                                              Luck is a very rare thing....... Odds not so much. 

                                              Odds never change .....but probability does. 

                                                                                                       Win d    


                  United States
                  Member #93947
                  July 10, 2010
                  2180 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: June 30, 2014, 1:31 am - IP Logged

                   Mankind has always seen patterns that were not there. Yes, but Science forgets to mention the other part of these old type stories.

                   

                      Always remember ....                          " Man has always seen patterns that really were there as well !" 

                                                                                                                                 Win  d

                      That's the part that kills ya!  LOL 

                         That's also the part that takes Mankind forward. 

                               


                  Win D,

                  These researchers didn't forget...

                  "Our ancestors were constantly searching for food, either gathering plants or hunting animals. As they searched, they had to continually decide where to look next. The wrong choice could mean starvation.  Dr. Wilke argues that this threat led our ancestors to evolve some rules of thumb based on the fact that animals and plants aren't scattered randomly across a landscape. Instead, they can be found in clumps.  That meant that if our ancestors picked up a fruit from the ground, they were likely to find more by looking nearby, rather than going somewhere else. As a result, they became very sensitive to these streaks. They were an indication that good fortune would keep coming."

                  Unfortunately for lottery players, ping pong balls don't provide patterns based on real world phenomena like the food our ancestors foraged for. 

                  Therein is the root of innumeracy.

                  --Jimmy4164

                    Avatar
                    New Member
                    Lynbrook, NY
                    United States
                    Member #156797
                    June 30, 2014
                    2 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: June 30, 2014, 9:03 am - IP Logged

                    As a former HS and Collegiate Athlete I can say there is such a thing as a "hot hand" and streaks in baseball are well known.  Athletes will tell you that they are in a groove things come much easier without as much effort.  Everything is a chance, but the fact that some are so much more obviously streaky, while others are more consistent can be plain seen. 

                     

                    The article tries to separate several things that are really combined to make a streak and therefore not separate at all!  Psychology has a good deal to do with it.  Once you hit one or win 1 it becomes easier to relax and makes hitting the next one or winning the next game much simpler.  However, this plays into the streak and is not different from "the hot hand". 

                     

                    I do not know what Dr. Wilke is doing, but i have many years of experience in seeing hot hands play. In lotto i can go 2 weeks without a hit than go a full week when i get a hit every day.  Hot and cold. 

                    As for Monkeys and donkeys... last I checked they have nothing to do with human thought.


                      United States
                      Member #93947
                      July 10, 2010
                      2180 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: June 30, 2014, 2:59 pm - IP Logged


                      LuckyMick,

                      "I do not know what Dr. Wilke is doing, but i have many years of experience in seeing hot hands play."

                      I'm sure his statistical analyses assumes the average number of consecutive scoring shots expected from an NBA Superstar will exceed the number expected from grade schoolers, and then proceeds from there.  Your observations are common, as Dr. Wilke points out, so you're not alone and should dig deeper into his and others' research.  However...

                      "In lotto i can go 2 weeks without a hit than go a full week when i get a hit every day.  Hot and cold."

                      Assuming you can't communicate with ping pong balls, to what do you attribute these "streaks?"

                      "As for Monkeys and donkeys... last I checked they have nothing to do with human thought."

                      Maybe you should check again...

                      --Jimmy4164