Anybody who follows basketball has seen it before: a player hits a momentum-changing three point shot. His team gets the ball back and tears down the court. Will the same player feel he (or she) has a hot hand and try another long-distance shot? Chances are he will. And chances are he'll miss. And chances are he'll do the same exact thing the next game.
That's the conclusion of a statistical analysis of a few hundred professional basketball players (291 from the NBA, 41 from the WNBA). The goal was not only to find out whether the frequently discussed "hot hand"—a shooter who's connecting on most of the shots he takes—exists, but also to find out whether players could identify when they're more likely to be hot, and adjust their behavior accordingly. The answer to both appears to be no, but there may be some other learning going on on the court.