Twenty years of "hot hand" research: Review and critique

Michael Bar-Eli, Simcha Avugos, Markus Raab

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

166 Scopus citations


Objectives: This article systematically reviews the state of the art of the "hot hand" research in sports. The belief that successive attempts of an individual player are positively related, as well as the behavior influenced by such a belief, will be investigated. Method: The analysis of experiments, simulations, and archival data from actual sport competitions are structured in a way that evidence for or against the existence of the hot hand is presented. In addition, key issues that have been raised over this debate will be highlighted, including their merits and pitfalls. Results: The empirical evidence for the existence of the hot hand is considerably limited. Methodological advancements as well as some experimental results indicate a shift in the debate from the adaptiveness of a potentially faulty belief to an adaptive behavior based partly on the hot hand belief. Conclusions: The potential implications of this review for cognitive theories, empirical studies, and sport practice may provide a significant leverage point for future research and application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-553
Number of pages29
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2006


  • Decision making
  • Hot hand
  • Review
  • Sport
  • Streaks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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