The Hot Hand in Number Matching Lottery Games

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Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Partha S. Mukherjee


There are many people who love playing lottery games for fun, and even for big prizes. For those whom have studied the basic probability theory, the fact that lottery winning numbers are purely independent is obvious, as each drawing and numbers are chosen randomly in every aspect and there is no logical way to predict the future winning number. However, there are handfuls of people who believe that they could analyze the pattern of past winning numbers to predict the future winning numbers.

This project will examine what percentages of respondents are influenced by the Hot Hand Belief and Law of Small Numbers when playing number matching lottery games. I set an artificial number matching lottery game and provided participants with three different sets of previous winning numbers and asked them to calculate the likelihood of each number in the next drawing.

I expect to see responses from people with less Mathematic background to be more distorted from the actual probability and responses from people with more Mathematic background to be closer to the actual probability. I also expect that a majority of the responses will verify the Law of Small Numbers and some heuristics.

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