The gambler's fallacy occurs as follows: You flip a coin ten times, and each time it comes up heads. But on the 11th flip, will it come up heads again, or tails? If you ask a random group of people, you will likely get two different answers.
The first will be that the coin will surely come up heads again - it's already done so 10 times in a row, so the odds must be in favor of it happening again.The second answer will be that is must come up tails on the 11th flip, because it came up heads 10 times now and the coin is "due" to go the other way by now.
But both answers are wrong, and both are the different sides of the gambler's fallacy. Even if we come up with 10,000 heads in a row, the odds of number 10,001 being tails is still only 50/50 (assuming that the coin is "fair", of course). The law of averages does not change and a random system does not develop a "memory." The gambler's fallacy represents the very real human desire to find some sort meaning and patter in what appears to be a random system.
Also Known As: Monte Carlo Fallacy
Alternate Spellings: none
Common Misspellings: none
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