Scientists dismissed “hot streaks” in sports for decades. They were wrong. • Vox • 2013 Jun 3
…In 1985, a hugely influential study by a trio of psychologists argued that the hot hand was a myth. Among the NBA and college players they studied, hitting one shot made no difference in their odds of hitting the next shot. Like coin tosses, players were subject to the laws of probability, with the same baseline percentage chance of hitting every shot. Ever since that study, psychologists have held up fans’ belief in the hot hand as an example of human irrationality: our tendency to see patterns in randomness.
Now, however, it’s starting to look like the hot hand might be real after all.
Just goes to show how people can look at the exact same set of hard data and come to wildly different conclusions. And “correct” and “incorrect” get pretty fuzzy when you’re dealing with probabilistic/statistical arguments. Ultimately it boils down to what your null hypothesis is and what assumptions underlie your null hypothesis.
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