Positive Recency, Monte Carlo Fallacy and School Safety | Dr. David Perrodin | SAFETY DOC #87 [Podcast]

PODCAST – On August 18, 1913, at the casino in Monte Carlo, black came up a record twenty-six times in succession in roulette. There was a near-panicky rush to bet on red, beginning about the time black had come up a phenomenal fifteen times. Although the probability that the probability was 47.4% the ball would land on red and 47.4% it would land on black, crazed betters pushed their “luck” and the house netted millions in francs that evening.

DIRECT LINK to MP3 of this Episode: https://tinyurl.com/SDP87

THE GAMBLER’S FALLACY

The Gambler’s Fallacy is based on a failure to understand statistical independence, that is, two events are statistically independent when the occurrence of one has no statistical effect upon the occurrence of the others. Statistical independence is connected to the notion of randomness in the following way: what makes a sequence random is that its members are statistically independent of each other. For instance, a list of random numbers is such that one cannot predict better than chance any member of the list based upon a knowledge of the other list members. This is why we can’t predict tonight’s lottery numbers by studying all of the numbers generated over the past year.

SCHOOL SAFETY BOWS TO THE GAMBLER’S FALLACY

There are two ways that school safety is strongly influenced by the Gambler’s Fallacy First, the public perceives that a passage of time without a school shooting or sentinel safety event is “unusual” of “uncomfortable” and therefore media surface about how society is “overdue” for a school shooting. These rumblings amplify and radiate and possibly become a self-fulfilling prophecy and bringing a school shooting to fruition. This might a stretch of a proclamation, but there’s merit to it.

THE RECENCY EFFECT IS THE REASON WE DON’T ANTICIPATE THE FUTURE

The “Recency Effect” simply means that things will be similar to how they have played out in recent times. This was a notable flaw in the massive fortification of the basement and street level areas of the World Trade Center following the 1993 bombing. Nobody thought ahead and considered planes.

HOT HAND THEORY – IMPATIENT PEOPLE DON’T CARE ABOUT TRENDS

The corollary to the recency effect is the equally fallacious notion of the ‘hot hand’, derived from basketball, in which it is thought that the last scorer is most likely to score the next one as well. The academic name for this is ‘positive recency’ – that people tend to predict outcomes based on the most recent event.

MAGINOT LINE – WE MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE TODAY

Of course planning for the next war based on the last one (another manifestation of positive recency) invariably delivers military catastrophe. This is why school fortification efforts are inadequately informed measures to address the attack of tomorrow.

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Dr. Perrodin’s “Safety Doc Podcast” negotiates school and community safety. To be informed about industrial safety, please contact Appalachian State University Professor Dr. Timothy Ludwig, PhD, at www.safety-doc.com

Link to articles mentioned in this article:  https://www.thecalculatorsite.com/articles/finance/the-gamblers-fallacy.php and http://www.fallacyfiles.org/gamblers.html

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