To Bet or Not to Bet, That Is the March Madness Question

Who will win it all?

Who will win it all?

With college basketball’s Big Dance around the corner, a timely bit of science for you: A recent study in Psychological Science found that given a choice whether to gamble or not, we are not so good at forecasting our emotional reaction to the outcome.

In a study, done by Eduardo B. Andrad of the University of California, Berkeley and Leaf Van Boven of University of Colorado at Boulder, volunteers were given the choice of gambling or not gambling underestimated the intensity of their affective reactions to the forgone gamble’s outcome. Those who would have been winners felt more displeasure than anticipated, and those who would have been losers felt more pleasure than anticipated.

So give in to the madness, gamble a little, you’ll care more about the results than you’d expect.

Andrade EB, & Van Boven L (2010). Feelings not forgone: underestimating affective reactions to what does not happen. Psychological science, 21 (5). doi: 10.1177/0956797610368809

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