Who doesn’t remember the rock-paper-scissors game that every child used to play in the neighborhood or in the schoolyard? While it looks like an innocent game in which luck is involved for winning it, a group of researchers actually found a formula that, once applied, can help you win this game each time. The scientists who researched this matter are from the Zhejiang University, in China, composing a paper with their conclusion. We can say that it was a real study, as 360 students were used for playing this game, 300 rounds of rock-paper-scissors more precisely. To motivate the students to look for a more efficient way to win this game, a prize in cash was awarded to the winners. So, all the researchers had to do is observe and collect statistical information.
Zhejiang University – Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China
If you are wondering what the first conclusions of the Chinese researchers were, do know that they notice the fact that the winners were not willing to let go of their winning strategy. In other words, the winners repeated their moves several times, with the hope of winning again. On the other hand, the losers changed their movements each time they played the game, hoping to find the winning combination. And they didn’t just change their moves randomly, but by going clockwise, like from rock to paper or paper to scissors. What does this mean? It means that if someone just lost the game for playing “rock”, then there are high chances that this person will play “paper” in the next round. But, if a person wins the game by playing “rock”, then there is a very high probability for him or her to play “rock” in the next round as well.
So, in order for you to win this game, all you have to do is pay attention to the moves of your opponent and adjust your strategy by using what you noticed and the previous information. You see, the observations of this study will help you anticipate your opponent’s movements, giving you a clear advantage in choosing the winning move. You see, while it was believed that this game was governed by the Nash equilibrium theory, which says that each player of the game will choose their movements in an equal manner and with equal probability, meaning that they will alternate their strategies, reality shows a different thing. When playing rock-paper-scissors, winners will hold on to their winning action, while losers with change it. But, what was the purpose of this study, besides helping people enjoy this game to a higher degree? Scientists were interested in finding more about the decision-making process and learning habits when it came to playing simple games. But, for the rest of us, this study means that next time our friends will challenge us to play rock-paper-scissors, we have significantly increased chances of winning the game.