Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 211–217 | Cite as

A hierarchical Bayesian model of the influence of run length on sequential predictions

  • Benjamin Scheibehenne
  • Bettina Studer
Brief Report


Two models of how people predict the next outcome in a sequence of binary events were developed and compared on the basis of gambling data from a lab experiment using hierarchical Bayesian techniques. The results from a student sample (N = 39) indicated that a model that considers run length (“drift model”)—that is, how often the same event has previously occurred in a row—provided a better description of the data than did a stationary model taking only the immediately prior event into account. Both, expectation of negative and of positive recency was observed, and these tendencies mostly grew stronger with run length. For some individuals, however, the relationship was reversed, leading to a qualitative shift from expecting positive recency for short runs to expecting negative recency for long runs. Both patterns could be accounted for by the drift model but not the stationary model. The results highlight the importance of applying hierarchical analyses that provide both group- and individual-level estimates. Further extensions and applications of the approach in the context of the prediction literature are discussed.


Gamblers fallacy Hot hand Recency Binary prediction task 


The online supplementary material can be accessed here:

Author Note

This work was supported by Research Grant No. 100014_130149 from the Swiss National Science Foundation to the first author.

Supplementary material

13423_2013_469_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (114 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 114 kb)


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Cognitive NeuroscienceUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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