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By: Ashleigh Lauren Johnson

4 min read

Is There Any Such Thing As A 'Good Bet'? Altenar Takes A Look At Binary Bias from YouTube Ratings To Sports Betting

It is proposed through the ideology of binary thinking (Binary Bias), that the human mind and the computer think and operate in very much the same way, sorting information into two-distinct definitions. For computers, this can be 1s and 0s and for humans, this can be divided into many different instances, but the one example would be the ‘ fight or flight’ response. An in-depth look at Binary Bias comes from  Matthew Fisher and Frank C. Keil who co-authored ‘The Binary Bias: A Systematic Distortion in the Integration of Information’. 


Leaving no room to distinguish any grey area or discern any meaning beyond the two definite states of thinking, black and white, 1s and 0s, many theorists believe this way of thinking can describe the way a bettor interacts with their decisions when placing a wager on a winning team. 


Fisher and Keil are not the only theorists and professional thinkers that cover the cognitive process of binary bias, in fact, there are a host authors studying the phenomena of black-and-white, dichotomous thinking such as psychologysays.net in their article ‘Binary Bias: What It Is And How It Affects The Way We Think’ and the Fisher, Newman and Dahr paper ‘Seeing Stars: How the Binary Bias Distorts the Interpretation of Customer Ratings’. 


Writer Colin Wright added to the understanding of binary bias and its effect on decision making in his article ‘Binary Bias’. Where the conclusive ideology was that the process of binary thinking removes a deeper reading of a situation and places scenarios into one of two choices, without considering outside of these predetermined boxes or structures.


From the information below, it appears that for bettors, there is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ bet as they don’t appear to apply binary thinking to their wagers. In fact, players of sports betting tend to offer more nuanced thinking when they place bets.


You can discover more about binary bias below, or find out more about Altenar, a sportsbook provider and what they can do for you by contacting the award-winning team today.



A Deeper Analysis Of Binary Bias With Sportsbook Software Provider, Altenar


This stems from how Richard Dawkins, in his work ‘The Tyranny of The Discontinuous Mind’ sees the binary thinking of the human brain, where an either-or, yes-or-no structure helps snap decision-making from whether or not a situation is dangerous to picking a sandwich for lunch. This binary thinking seems to leave no room for the nuanced lives humans live post-primitive and how this influences the way humans make decisions, especially within betting, caffeine consumption and YouTube ratings.


According to Collin Wright, assuming the brain doesn’t ‘like the middle-ground or uncertainty’ can inform how the brain makes decisions, binary bias allows for an illusory sense of ‘clear and direct thinking’. According to Fisher and Kiel, this premise offers distinctions, from thinking one thing and its polar opposite, the pair  noted: “Across a wide variety of contexts, we show that when summarising evidence, people exhibit a binary bias: a tendency to impose categorical distinctions on continuous data. Evidence is compressed into discrete bins, and the difference between categories forms the summary judgement.”


This binary bias was experienced by YouTube through its rating system; the video-based platform began rating video content with a series of stars, 1 to 5, though they soon discovered that many viewers rated in the extreme, 1 or 5 and that viewers never, or rarely, considered the middle ground. This resulted in the rating system most synonymous with the platform, a thumbs up and a thumbs down. 


Another example of binary bias in day-to-day life would be that expressed in teaching, as according to Dr. Marilyn Lovett Hampton in her article and study, ‘Binary Thinking: Promises and Pitfalls ’ teachers exhibit binary processes in the dichotomy of positive and critical thinking, at the same time.


From this, many discern that a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bet is placed on a win or lose situation, when the process of ‘chance’ implies that a well-placed bet or ‘good’ bet might become a losing bet, further insinuating that data points can’t truly be attributed to binary thinking. 


Thanks to a study and article written by Dr. Marilyn Lovett Hampton, she supposes that the process of binary thinking now encompasses this/and thinking, as opposed to, this/or thinking shedding light on the cognitive flexibility demonstrated by sports bettors.


As a bettor, the nuanced choice and the grey area is where a decision is best made because without a large set of tests or samples, no bettor would be able to accurately predict a wagered percentage. 


Meaning, no, there is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ bet, just the removal of binary thinking when players bet on sports. 


Want to discover more about your players, sportsbook solutions and how you can become a sports betting success? Contact Altenar, a sportsbook software provider today!


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