What's Next? Judging Sequences of Binary Events

Psychological Bulletin, Vol.135, pp. 262–285

24 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2008 Last revised: 6 Jan 2010

See all articles by An T. Oskarsson

An T. Oskarsson

University of Colorado at Boulder

Leaf Van Boven

University of Colorado Boulder

Gary McClelland

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Psychology

Reid Hastie

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: November 10, 2008

Abstract

The authors review research on judgments of random and nonrandom sequences involving binary events with a focus on studies documenting gambler’s fallacy and hot hand beliefs. The domains of judgment include random devices, births, lotteries, sports performances, stock prices, and others. After discussing existing theories of sequence judgments, the authors conclude that in many everyday settings people have naive complex models of the mechanisms they believe generate observed events, and they rely on these models for explanations, predictions, and other inferences about event sequences. The authors next introduce an explanation-based, mental models framework for describing people’s beliefs about binary sequences, based on 4 perceived characteristics of the sequence generator: randomness, intentionality, control, and goal complexity. Furthermore, they propose a Markov process framework as a useful theoretical notation for the description of mental models and for the analysis of actual event sequences.

Keywords: hot hand, streaks, gambler’s fallacy, binary sequence, Markov process

Suggested Citation

Oskarsson, An T. and Van Boven, Leaf and McClelland, Gary and Hastie, Reid, What's Next? Judging Sequences of Binary Events (November 10, 2008). Psychological Bulletin, Vol.135, pp. 262–285, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1299165

An T. Oskarsson

University of Colorado at Boulder ( email )

1070 Edinboro Drive
Boulder, CO CO 80309
United States

Leaf Van Boven

University of Colorado Boulder ( email )

University of Colorado Boulder
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, 345 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
United States
303.735.5238 (Phone)
303.492.2967 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://psych.colorado.edu/~vanboven/

Gary McClelland

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Psychology ( email )

Boulder, 80309
United States

Reid Hastie (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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