Everybody knows about hot hands. The only problem is that no such phenomenon exists. The Stanford psychologist Amos Tversky studied every basket made by the Philadelphia 76ers for more than a season. He found, first of all, that probabilities of making a second basket did not rise following a successful shot. Moreover, the number of "runs," or baskets in succession, was no greater than what a standard random, or coin-tossing, model would predict. (If the chance of making each basket is 0.5, for example, a reasonable value for good shooters, five hits in a row will occur, on average, once in thirty-two sequences--just as you can expect to toss five successive heads about once in thirty-two times, or 0.5.)
Start with a phenomenon that nearly everyone both accepts and considers well understood--"hot hands" in basketball. Now and then, someone just gets hot, and can't be stopped. Basket after basket falls in--or out as with "cold hands," when a man can't buy a bucket for love or money (choose your cliché). The reason for this phenomenon is clear enough; it lies embodied in the : "When you're hot, you're hot; and when you're not, you're not." You get that touch, build confidence; all nervousness fades, you find your rhythm; swish, swish, swish. Or you miss a few, get rattled, endure the booing, experience despair; hands start shaking and you realize that you shoulda stood in bed.
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Answer: Hot hands can mean that your hands are gettingenergized. Some people find this uncomfortable, and shake their handsafter healing sessions to dispel the energy. Healing energy can takethe form of coolness too, so don't think that just because your handsaren't hot that nothing's happening.