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Stressed Bettors Won’t Enjoy March Madness As Much

Stressed Bettors Won't Enjoy March Madness As Much 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.

Source: Washington University in St. Louis

Stressed Bettors Won’t Enjoy March Madness As Much

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Stressed Bettors Won’t Enjoy March Madness As Much. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 24, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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