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)
  • u3rayvaughn
    5/02/2014 - 12:00 p.m.

    I have another way to win at rock, paper, scissor. Sometimes I play a different way because it's funnier and more challenging. The way I use to play rock,paper,scissor is I 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 first and put either one that beat it. That's the tricks I do when I play other players.

  • daizan2002
    5/02/2014 - 12:00 p.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.

  • Tanya15
    5/02/2014 - 12:04 p.m.

    What does this study say about human behavior? Do humans prefer variety or consistency? It says that human behavior is most common to repeat itself like when they say people stick to their winning strategy which is most likely to make them lose. I would say people prefer to have a consistency or the same kind of pattern and that leads to people deciding to have a variety of choices than just sticking to one thing.

  • damon-Cla
    5/02/2014 - 12:10 p.m.

    I don't like how they just assumed that everyone has the same way of playing. I by the do not play how they have just stated above. As well as my friends they do not play with the same pattern that they just stated above.

  • olivia-Cla
    5/02/2014 - 12:10 p.m.

    I think that was a very good survey. The survey is right mostly... most people stick to a idea once they win. I have never been good at rock-paper-scissors so now I have a way to win. hopefully.

  • madalynn-Cla
    5/02/2014 - 12:14 p.m.

    This study is a very good strategy for rock, paper, scissors. Also I will us this strategy for future games of rock, paper, scissors. Finn ally this article explains why this game is so repetitious.

  • willl-Cla
    5/02/2014 - 12:14 p.m.

    rock paper scissors is one of the most fun games i play.
    but to triy to make advantage is sad because the game would become boring because you cold Chet and win all the time so it would not be fun any more.

  • TrevynP-Kot
    5/02/2014 - 12:20 p.m.

    i don't think this is true because i normal go with the same stuff and i normally win so i don't know y they are making this a big deal the game is so old that my granny played it when she was young and she is 89 i think...

  • NorbertoH
    5/02/2014 - 12:51 p.m.

    I don't get how you tell how a person is doing to do by watching kids play the game but that is cool how you can figure out that by watching kids play you figure out how adults play to but son people may not go clock wise they may go counter clock wise.

  • CameronO0424
    5/02/2014 - 12:53 p.m.

    I think this is kind of crazy, because how can u predict what someone is going to choose in a silly game like Rock Paper Scissors. But i also think it is kinda cool how they found a theory of a pattern that people use in rock paper scissors. i play this game all of the time and ive never thought of it as a strategic game.

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