NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ827100
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Feb
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 62
ISSN: ISSN-0096-1523
Subjective Patterns of Randomness and Choice: Some Consequences of Collective Responses
Falk, Ruma; Falk, Raphael; Ayton, Peter
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, v35 n1 p203-224 Feb 2009
Any individual's response intended to be random should be as probable as any other. However, 3 experiments show that many people's independent responses depart from the expected chance distribution. Participants responding to instructions of chance and related concepts favor the available options unequally in a similar way. Consequently, in hide-and-seek games, hiders converge on certain locations and are thereby detected beyond chance by seekers who share their preferences. People agree on salient and on nonsalient options, both of which are preferred under different instructions and even in the absence of instructions. Group responses strongly correlate under diverse, even opposing (e.g., competitive and cooperative) directions. Apparently, common default tendencies, combining random and aesthetic choices, are only somewhat modified under specific instructions. Maximal agreement with others is obtained through one's own aesthetic choices. Hence, implementing one's personal aesthetic preferences succeeds in matching others' choices even better than deliberate mutual coordination efforts. These results broadly replicate in 1- and 2-dimensional tasks. Implications of the findings, their possible roots, and their connection to constructs from, e.g., game theory and subjective-complexity research, are discussed. (Contains 1 footnote, 14 tables, and 7 figures.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Israel (Jerusalem); United Kingdom (England)