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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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？