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 (220)
  • raquel89
    5/02/2014 - 11:24 a.m.

    This is what i do. Sometimes i like to play rock paper scissors to get something. Its like a pattern that you might keep doing the same things. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you loose.

  • ChaseD1126
    5/02/2014 - 11:34 a.m.

    I'm awesome at rock paper scissors i don't need a guide but its cool how they found this out really crafty i say also no one can beat me trust me i got that swag

  • Shayal101
    5/02/2014 - 11:52 a.m.

    WOW! That is so cool. I never really noticed that fact but it's pretty cool because not a lot of people know about that trick. Now I can use the same trick to win a game. :)

  • Joslin_101
    5/02/2014 - 11:52 a.m.

    I think the way that the human brain works is very admirable and cool. But, I don't really think that this is not telling the truth because I have tried this strategy and it still does not work. I think this study shoes that some people will be accustomed to patterns, but some people just want to do their own things. I think that it is a 50/50 chance that humans prefer both variety and consistency.

  • ericpacheco
    5/02/2014 - 11:53 a.m.

    I tried it and I think you guys or who ever typed this article is a liar. I just lost rock paper scissors against someone like four times in a row. I think this should be a way to lose.

  • ryleeb-Wya
    5/02/2014 - 11:54 a.m.

    Good to know! I will try to inform my schools teams and my team. This article is interesting because I never knew that that's how people think!

  • ryleeb-Wya
    5/02/2014 - 11:54 a.m.

    Good to know! I will try to inform my schools teams and my team. This article is interesting because I never knew that that's how people think!

  • daizan2002
    5/02/2014 - 11:55 a.m.

    Not all people do that, when I play with my brothers they don't go in order like the song, they pike what they want.some time they pike the same thing in the same round. I usually win because I know they are going to pick the same thing.

  • u3eddie
    5/02/2014 - 11:55 a.m.

    Well, it is pretty amazing research that shows this. I know this is true because whenever I play this game of rock -paper- scissors I have been following this direction of playing. Whenever I lose I choose what they have chosen. I never really paid attention to this but it's amazing to know. Also I do refuse to going in random ways with my pick of rock or paper or scissors.

  • u3rayvaughn
    5/02/2014 - 11:58 a.m.

    I have another way to win at rock, paper, scissor. Sometimes I play a different because it's funnier and more challenging. The way I use to play rock,paper,scissor is use all kind of stuff like I use my hands and say what I doing. Another trick i use to play rock,paper,scissor is wait until the other player goes. That's the tricks I do when I play.

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