Not all hands get hot: success rates and hot-hand predictions

João Niza Braga*, Sofia Jacinto

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When predicting someone's performance, people expect that short runs of consistent successful outcomes will continue—the hot-hand. This tendency has been shown in contexts where athletes show a local performance streak, but no other information about their performance is provided. In real-life settings, performance predictions often use global-performance records like success-rate probabilities, although judgements often neglect such statistical information. Aimed at understanding psychological momentums, in a classical sports domain the present work explores how global-performance information (success rates) about an athlete impacts intentionality judgements and moderate predictions of success after a streak. Four studies show that (1) although participants tend to predict the continuation of streaks of success, they are less likely to predict that successful streaks will continue when success rates are low (vs. high or unknown); (2) sensitiveness to local performance's consistency affects perceived ability for high-success rate athletes and perceived effort for low success-rate athletes; (3) the mediation model describing that intentionality attributions mediate the effect of global success-rate information on performance predictions fits the data. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalAsian Journal of Social Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Attribution
  • Base rates
  • Hot-hand predictions
  • Intentionality
  • Psychological momentum


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