Things might not be quite as good as they seem on the court. In July’s issue of Psychological Science, Attali empirically analyzes how the well-known and much-disputed “hot hand,” the idea that players who have made recent shots are more likely to make their next shot. The pervasive perception of “hot hand” – accepted by players and coaches alike – was found to significantly increase a player’s chances of taking the next shot, and of taking more risky shots. However, these “hot” players were in fact less likely to make a shot after a hit than after a miss. Though there is sound reason behind the psychological tendency to seek out and identify patterns among repeated events, this research adds to past literature showing how intuitions concerning statistical probability may result in suboptimal behavior.
- Attali, Y. (2013). Perceived Hotness Affects Behavior of Basketball Players and Coaches. Psychological Science, (April).