Can humans discriminate whether strings of events (e.g., shooting success in basketball) were generated by a random or constrained process (e.g., hot and cold streaks)? Conventional wisdom suggests that humans are not good at this discrimination. For example, Kahneman (2011) writes that “the hot hand is entirely in the eye of the beholders, who are consistently too quick to perceive order and causality in randomness. The hot hand is a massive and widespread cognitive illusion” (p. 117). Following from Cooper, Hammack, Lemasters, and Flach (2014), a series of Monte Carlo simulations and empirical experiments examined the abilities of both humans and statistical tests (Wald-Wolfowitz Runs Test and 1/f) to detect specific constraints that are representative of plausible factors that might influence the performance of athletes (e.g., learning, non-stationary task constraints).
& Houpt, J.
(2015). Detecting Structure in Activity Sequences: Exploring the Hot Hand Phenomenon. 18th International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 394-397.