Opinion: The gambler’s fallacy and real-world decisions

A new report suggests that the fallacy leads asylum judges, loan officers and baseball umpires to make major mistakes. The result can be serious unfairness. SUPPOSE you’re watching a baseball game, and your favorite player, a terrific hitter with a .320 average, has struck out three times in a row. If you’re like most people, you might think, “He’s due!” — and conclude that on his fourth at-bat, he’s likely to get a hit. Now suppose that you are working in a college admissions office. Your job is to evaluate 200 applicants, about 50 of whom will be admitted. You’ve just accepted three in a row, and now you might be inclined to think that the next two are unlikely to deserve admission. You might even evaluate their applications with that skeptical thought in mind. ….[READ]