Monday, July 19, 2010

Free throw shooting after a bad call

This one has some very interesting implications. A new study by Haynes and Gilovich (who I have blogged about many times previously), published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, found that basketball players have lower free throw percentages when they are the beneficiary of a bad call. The first free throw averages 20% less (50% compared to 70% on average) then the player’s normal average and then goes back to normal for the second free throw. So the impact of the guilty feeling doesn’t last very long. They also found that when the team is behind, the effect is smaller. I will let you think about why this might be true. Maybe we are better at rationalizing the bad call when we need it more.

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