It’s that time of year when many co-workers get worked up about March Madness and place bets in the office pool on who will win the national college basketball championship.
However, a word of caution — you might not enjoy the games very much if you bet, according to a researcher at Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis.
“Predictions become more aversive when the outcome of the event is highly uncertain,” as in the upcoming basketball tournament, said Stephen M. Nowlis, Ph.D., who conducted a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
Nowlis said the results were counterintuitive, given the popularity of office pools, spoiler message boards and online betting sites. But in a series of four experiments, Nowlis found that consumers who make predictions about uncertain events experience significantly less enjoyment while observing the events than those who don’t make predictions.
“We thought the opposite would be true,” said Nowlis. “We explain our results in terms of anticipated regret. In fact, removing the source of anticipated regret eliminates the negative effect of prediction on enjoyment.”
Even if you think you are absolutely sure you know the team that will win this year’s tournament, you may still not have much fun if you lay down some money.
“One compelling finding from our studies was that, among those who made predictions, participants who were correct enjoyed the event no more than those who were incorrect,” Nowlis said.