A review of the hot-hand phenomenon as a subjective belief and its consequences in sport

Ernesto Suárez-Cadenas, David Cárdenas Vélez, José César Perales López


The hot hand phenomenom (also known as hot hat effect or streaks) refers to a hypothetical performance increase after chaining several trials successfully. Three types of research are identified in sports contexts: (1) focused on the (in) existence of streaks, (2) on the psychological mechanisms of human belief in streaks and (3) on possible behavioral consequences caused by belief in streaks. This review covers the last two aspects: the psychology of the belief in streaks and the behavior caused by it. The systematic review process was carried out using a standardized protocol based on the guidelines suggested by Fernández-Ríos and Buela-Casal (2009). The studies related to belief in streaks confirm that people strongly believe in their existence in most sports, showing differences depending on expertise and framing modifications. However, it remains to be further investigated situational factors and psychological characteristics that affect the perception of streaks. From a behavioral point of view, the studies show that belief in the existence of streaks has a huge impact on decisions. The studies here reviewed seem to show that the influence of belief on streaks leads to worse and more risky decision making. However, it remains to be clarified the impact of this trend on objective performance indicators in real game contexts.


Streak; Belief; Conduct; Decision making; Sport

Full Text:

PDF (Español)

Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM
Copyright (c) 2017 Ernesto Suárez-Cadenas, David Cárdenas Vélez, José César Perales López