Evolution may have trained the mind to see scoring streaks — even where they don't exist. Sports fans have cried foul for 25 years as scientists have dumped statistical ice water on basketball players' "hot hands." It seems obvious to even casual spectators that competitors occasionally score a bunch of baskets in a row and need to keep shooting while they're in the zone. Sorry, b-ball buffs. Researchers have yet to document any chance-defying scoring runs among even the best players. Kobe Bryant may well sink shot after shot, game in and game out, but even this all-star's season-long pattern of hits and misses fits within the mathematical definition of a random sequence, scientists say. Kobe's chances of hitting a shot are no greater following a swish than a miss.
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Ellie K writes: