Is it a Fallacy to Believe in the Hot Hand in the NBA Three-Point Contest?

Joshua Miller, Adam Sanjurjo

OSF Preprint | Published : 2018


The hot hand fallacy has long been considered a massive and widespread cognitive illusion with important implications in economics and finance. The NBA Three-Point Contest has been considered an ideal setting to test for the hot hand, as it involves elite professional shooters with large incentives, yet shooting in a fairly controlled environment. A prominent replication of the original hot hand fallacy study finds no evidence of hot hand shooting in 4 years of data from the contest. We improve on their study by instead collecting 29 years of NBA Three-Point Contest television broadcast data (1986-2015), and applying a statistical approach that: (i) is more powered, (ii) uses an improved set..

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University of Melbourne Researchers