Saturday, 28 July 2012

The Hot-Hand Fallacy

The Association for Psychological Science has this story about Peter Ayton's work on judgement and decision making, especially in sport.

Peter Ayton, a researcher from City University London, UK, investigates how people make judgments and decisions under conditions of risk, uncertainty, and ambiguity. One way he studies decision making is through sports.

One bias discovered through sports statistics, says Ayton, is the “hot-hand fallacy,” which was first coined by APS Fellow Tom D. Gilovich. The fallacy arose from the belief that a basketball player is more likely to score if he or she just scored, making that player “hot.” By analyzing data from professional basketball games, Gilovich showed that the idea of players being “hot” was false.

Although I tend to use modern psychology as an example of poor science, or even pseudo-science, this kind of relatively straightforward statistical analysis is surely of some interest.

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