Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Statisitics and the Sports Illustrated Jinx

Written By: Jason Shafrin - Aug• 06•13

Daniel Kahneman explains the false inference many people make between causation and regression to the mean.

A well-known example is the “Sports Illustrated jinx,” the claim that an athlete whose picture appears on the cover of the magazine is doomed to perform poorly the following season.  Overconfidence and the pressure of meeting high expectations are often offered as explanations.  But there is a simpler account of the jinx: an athlete who gets to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated must have performed exceptionally well in the preceding season, probably with the assistance of a nudge from luck–and luck is fickle.

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