Here's how to win at rock-paper-scissors Two players compete at the first international Rock, Paper, Scissors Championships in Beijing, China in 2008
Here's how to win at rock-paper-scissors
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Most everyone has played rock-paper-scissors. The game is used to choose up sides, or see who goes first or determine who gets the last piece of cake.

Now a study finds that people actually fall into patterns. Led by researchers at Zhejiang University in China, the study recruited 360 students, who played 300 rounds of the game.

According to the study, people who won the first round were more likely to stick with the same action. Those who lost switched to the next action in a clockwise direction (rock switches to paper, paper switches to scissors, scissors switches to rock).

As a savvy player, you can use that knowledge to your advantage if you lose. For example, if your opponent beats your rock with paper, theyre likely to choose paper the next game, so you should go with scissors.

This follows the basic theory that humans tend to stick with a winning strategy, the MIT Technology Review reports. As a player, your best bet is to resist that urge and go for a completely random object each time.

Critical thinking challenge: What does this study say about human behavior? Do humans prefer variety or consistency?

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COMMENTS (106)
  • jakeg-Cla
    5/02/2014 - 12:11 p.m.

    This was helful to me in the way that i loose rock paper scissors most of the time play. so hopefuly next time i play rock paper scissors i have a fighting chance thanks teen tribune

  • marvellh-Orv
    5/02/2014 - 12:27 p.m.

    It's cool how these scientist thought of the pattern that people use i have never thought about it but when i play i use a variety instead of consistent because i want to see if the guesser i choose could win.

  • melissaj-Ste
    5/02/2014 - 01:04 p.m.

    I believe humans prefer consistency because anything consistent is more reliable and a safer bet. Variety mixes things up including a person. This study proves that people like to win, although when consistency starts to fail, humans might switch to variety.

  • karenc-Koc
    5/02/2014 - 01:37 p.m.

    This is a great thing to know. This way I can possibly win every game. The thing is I've noticed that other people have this in mind as well so maybe no one will get to play the right way.

  • amberh-Koc
    5/02/2014 - 02:29 p.m.

    This study says that in the human behavior humans prefer consistency. The study says they feeder consistency because if there wining then they are going too go in a pattern .

  • AvalonR-4
    5/02/2014 - 06:57 p.m.

    This article is about how to win at rock, paper, scissors. A study proved that people don't just randomly choose their next move, they follow a pattern. The basic pattern is to switch in a clockwise position. Researchers in the University of China interviewed over 360 people and studied how they played the game. The easiest way to win is to do a completely random move each time. I think that it's really cool that they studied all these kids and found the best way to win. I'm definitely going to use these moves next time I play to try to win.

  • KyleH-3
    5/02/2014 - 07:54 p.m.

    Studies have shown that when you are playing rock paper scissors, you usually fall into a pattern. For instance if you win a game of rock paper scissors, you tend to stay with the item that you won with. But if
    You lose then you usually change your item. In my opinion I think it is kind of weird that we fall into a pattern of just a simple game of rock paper scissors

  • ben_heagy
    5/02/2014 - 07:54 p.m.

    Rock, paper, and Scissors is a fun competitive game where you face your friends. Usually, you play with two other free will make the game longer and more competitive. The rad people at MIT Tech have researched a more efficient way to this game. They did this by studying how people usually play the game. It is still unknown of how many people are using their cool strategy.

    Wow, this article was super-duper cool. Perhaps I should start using their strategy!

  • JoshR-5
    5/02/2014 - 07:56 p.m.

    Zhejiang, China they did a study in the game Rock Paper Scissors. They chose 360 different students to do this test. They came up with different strategies to show the fundamentals if the game. MIT assisted in this experiment. I think this is a cool experiment. I would totally participate in this.

  • colleenl-Ste
    5/03/2014 - 08:34 p.m.

    This theory is actually pretty accurate. This is how I win almost all of the rock-paper-scissor games of my life. The players I verse are normally the kind who go for the random picks but then get on the consistency of using the tool the person they versed lost with.

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