RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Why Are We So Mad about March Madness?

March 24, 2015 2:18 am

In the world of sports and competition, March Madness holds a special place in the hearts of basketball fans. Millions of Americans are getting ready to take part in the chaotic tradition of betting on teams and fueling rivalries with colleagues, friends, and family. But what's behind this synchronized frenzy?

Dr. Pamela Vincent, psychology faculty at Ashford University, offers insight into the manic behavior that led to the term March Madness:

It's Only Natural – Humans have an innate drive toward competition, a leftover trait stemming from times when it was necessary to compete for food, shelter, and mates in order to survive. Although the need to hunt for food and safety aren't there to the same extent today (in most cases), we still enjoy that competitive spirit when it comes to things like sports.

A Slam Dunk – It's easy to throw $5 into an office pool during March Madness because there's the outside chance that you might win the whole pot without really having to do any hard work. It's even easier to understand why the person who won last year (or the person who is just coming down from the office's fantasy football season win) would throw some money into the game. He or she has already seen the rewards for joining in, and is therefore reinforced to try their luck again. Reinforcement suggests that when a behavior is rewarded, we are more likely to repeat it. So, if you take a gamble on a game and win, you are more likely to gamble on the next game.

The Thrill of the Chase – Betting is based on a variable partial reinforcement schedule, meaning that you can't really predict when you'll be rewarded again. Imagine that you knew you'd win every third year. Well, there's really no reward in playing during years one, two, four, or five because you know you won't earn a return on your investment. But with betting, you never know which bracket will be your lucky one or which year your team will to make it to the end, so you are even more likely to compete due to the inconsistent reward system.

The Ball's in My Court – So why do those who have no real stake in the games and perhaps choose teams based on fun mascots or colorful uniforms get involved in the tradition? First, if you are competing within a small office, you may be influenced by the "availability heuristic," which suggests that we tend to overestimate our likelihood of winning. You see 30 people in your office and figure, "Well, somebody has to win – why not me?" For the notorious annual "losers" who over-analyze, pick all of the wrong upsets and end up with only three out of the top 32 each year, there is the "gambler's fallacy" in which a person feels that he or she is overdue for a win despite all other factors in the game.

Very Superstitious – Another interesting aspect of gambling during March Madness is the superstition that comes into play. This behavior ranges from wearing the same socks while watching a favorite team to making your friend leave the room so your team can score. Logically, we know that these behaviors have absolutely no effect on whether or not a foul shot is made or a rebound is caught, but when things occur outside of our control, we either choose to avoid the anxiety-producing events or establish methods of coping with them. In other words, we create our own semblance of control and finding the most rational or predictable element in our environment.

So, will drinking a chocolate shake during every game help someone finally win this year? "Not likely," said Vincent. "But hey, there's no bad excuse for a chocolate shake and just maybe this time you'll have the lucky bracket."

Source: Ashford University

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Report: 1 in 10 U.S. Residents Want to Move

March 24, 2015 2:18 am

Nearly 10 percent of U.S. residents are dissatisfied with their current housing, neighborhood, local safety or public services to the point that they want to move, according to a recently released U.S. Census Bureau report, Desire to Move and Residential Mobility: 2010-2011. However, only 18.3 percent of the 11.2 million householders who wanted to move actually did so between 2010 and 2011.

"Fifty-six percent of people who didn’t move in 2010 but wanted to no longer wanted to move when interviewed again the following year. However, this does not necessarily mean that these residents were satisfied with where they lived,” said Peter Mateyka, an analyst with the Census Bureau’s Journey-to-Work and Migration Statistics Branch and the report author. “Some additional factors that influence if people move include time, money, health and suitable alternative homes, which may explain why many people change their minds about moving.”

Who wants to move?

Young householders: About 14.6 percent of householders age 16 to 34 reported a desire to move, com¬pared with 10.4 percent of house¬holders age 35 to 54, and 6.3 percent of householders age 55 and older.

Renters: 16.5 percent of all householders who rented desired to move, more than twice the rate for homeowners.

Householders living in impoverished areas: Of homeowners who desired to move, the average census tract (neighborhood) poverty rate was 13.7 percent. For all homeowners, the average neighborhood poverty rate was 10.3 percent.

Householders with children: 14.3 percent of households with children desired to move compared with 8.7 percent of households without children.

Householders with a disability: 12.5 percent of householders with a disability reported a desire to move versus 8.2 percent of those without a disability.

Source: Census.gov

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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