The Gambler’s Fallacy is a logical fallacy where someone incorrectly believes that the occurrence of a random event is influenced by previous events, when in reality, they are independent. This fallacy often comes into play in situations involving chance, such as gambling, where people may believe that past outcomes influence future results.
Imagine you are flipping a fair coin. The first five flips all result in “heads.” Someone succumbing to the Gambler’s Fallacy might think, “Well, the next flip has to be ‘tails’ because it’s overdue.”
In a fair coin toss, the chance of getting heads or tails is always 50-50, regardless of what has happened in the past. Each coin flip is an independent event, meaning its outcome is not influenced by previous flips. Therefore, thinking that a “tails” result is “due” after a series of “heads” is a manifestation of the Gambler’s Fallacy.
The fallacy can lead to poor decision-making in various contexts beyond gambling. For instance, in finance, someone might think a stock that has gone up for several days is “due” for a decline, or vice versa. In reality, each day’s trading is an independent event influenced by countless variables.
Understanding the Gambler’s Fallacy can help people make more rational decisions in situations that involve chance or risk.