Special Random Numbers: Beyond the Illusion of Control

Joseph K. Goodman, The University of Texas at Austin
Julie R. Irwin, The University of Texas at Austin
EXTENDED ABSTRACT - Consumers wager approximately $900 billion a year, two-thirds of which takes place in casinos (Seligman 2003). According to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, 86% of Americans report having gambled in their lifetime and 68% have in the last year (Seligman 2003). Despite the random process of state lotteries, approximately 30% of lottery players choose their own numbers rather than have the computer pick the numbers for them (MUSL 2003). Similarly, the National Science Foundation reported that 60% of adults believe that some people possess psychic powers or extrasensory perception (Recer 2002). On average, 2.4 million consumers tune in to watch John Edward Across over@ into the land of the paranormal on his weekday television program. It is clear that (nonrandom) explanations for random events constitute big business. In addition, it is clear that some random systems, such as astrology and psychics, are more valued than others are.
[ to cite ]:
Joseph K. Goodman and Julie R. Irwin (2004) ,"Special Random Numbers: Beyond the Illusion of Control", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 31, eds. Barbara E. Kahn and Mary Frances Luce, Valdosta, GA : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 20-21.