Demonstrating the gambler's fallacy in an introductory statistics class


Book: 
Teaching of Psychology
Authors: 
Riniolo, T. C., & Schmidt, L. A.
Category: 
Volume: 
26(3)
Pages: 
198-200
Year: 
1999
Abstract: 

In this article, we describe a classroom demonstration that uses the Gambler's Fallacy to illustrate misconceptions about random processes and how they affect statistical interpretation. The demonstration used a database collected from simulated gambling by students picking professional football games with the point spread (i.e., a real-life random process). The results of student picks illustrated that random processes are not self-correcting and reinforced the relation between sample size and variability. Formal and informal feedback from students indicated that the demonstration was well received and recommended for future classes.

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