Concept

Law of averages

Résumé
The law of averages is the commonly held belief that a particular outcome or event will, over certain periods of time, occur at a frequency that is similar to its probability. Depending on context or application it can be considered a valid common-sense observation or a misunderstanding of probability. This notion can lead to the gambler's fallacy when one becomes convinced that a particular outcome must come soon simply because it has not occurred recently (e.g. believing that because three consecutive coin flips yielded heads, the next coin flip must be virtually guaranteed to be tails). As invoked in everyday life, the "law" usually reflects wishful thinking or a poor understanding of statistics rather than any mathematical principle. While there is a real theorem that a random variable will reflect its underlying probability over a very large sample, the law of averages typically assumes that an unnatural short-term "balance" must occur. Typical applications also generally assume
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