Rolling five straight sevens at the craps table. Sinking eight consecutive three-point basketball shots. Making the light at the intersection every day all week.

在賭桌上擲骰子連續5次出現7。投籃連續投進8記3分球。在十字路口連續一週每天都趕上綠燈。

Such streaks are all easily within the bounds of statistical probability. But when they’re happening, people believe that they have what is often called the hot hand. Our brains are hardwired to find such patterns and meaning. And now researchers find that other primates also appear to believe in streaks.

這種連贏的機會只有在統計機率裡才可能出現。一旦出現,人們相信發生在他們身上的,就是所謂的「手氣旺。」我們大腦與生俱來的本能,會去找出這種模式和意義。而現在研究人員發現,其他的靈長類動物似乎也相信運氣。

Scientists created computer games that could be played by rhesus monkeys. Some of the games were programmed to show clear patterns—that is, they were fixed. But one game gave random results.

科學家開發了一些給獼猴玩的電腦遊戲。這些遊戲中,有些程式會呈現出明顯的固定模式,意即它是事先安排好的。但其中一款遊戲則會出現隨機的結果。

The monkeys played more than a thousand rounds, for rewards. They did well in the games with the obvious patterns. But in the random game, the monkeys made moves indicating that they nevertheless expected patterns to occur.

為了得到報酬,獼猴們玩遊戲超過上千回合。牠們在固定模式的遊戲裡表現不錯。但在隨機結果的遊戲中,獼猴的肢體動作顯示,即便在結局不同的遊戲中,牠們仍然期待固定的結果出現。

Evolution clearly favors the ability to find patterns—foraging for food and noticing where bunches of fruits occur is a great survival tool. But believing in a hot hand, especially in casinos, can make monkeys out of all of us.

物種演化過程明顯偏好能找出固定模式的能力,例如找尋食物,還有注意哪裡有大串的水果出現,這都是重要的求生工具。但是迷信於「手氣旺」,特別是在賭場中,就能區別出猴子與我們的差異。

新聞辭典

streak:名詞,一段時間內持續的成功或失敗。例句:The casinos had better watch out since I’m obviously on a lucky streak! (賭場最好小心了,因為我現在顯然處於連贏的態勢!)

hardwired:形容詞,天生的。例句:A human being who is hardwired to be sociable.(社交是人類與生俱來的本性。)

make a monkey(out)of someone:片語,作弄某人,讓人看來像個傻瓜。例句:Are you trying to make a monkey out of me?(你想讓我看來像個呆瓜嗎?)文中為雙關語,若在賭場中迷信手氣,豈不像個呆瓜?

宏浩翻譯引用http://iservice.ltn.com.tw/Service/english/english.php?engno=819436&day=2014-10-07

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