Archives for February 2014

Bowdoin Economist Says the ‘Hot Hand’ is Real, and Important (Pacific Standard)

Daniel Stone

Daniel Stone

The prevailing thought in academia for 30 years has been that the “hot hand” phenomenon — when an athlete is playing well above his or her typical level — is a myth, or just “random statistical noise,” as NYT’s columnist David Brooks puts it.

But Assistant Professor of Economics Dan Stone argues that researchers are overlooking a real pattern in behavior when they dismiss the possibility that athletes, or indeed anyone, can achieve exceptional streaks of success. He and Jeremy Arkes, an associate professor of economics at the Naval Postgraduate School, write in the Pacific Standard that several recent papers based on their research are proving “that the laymen seem to have been right all along.” For while economists and psychology researchers thought they had disproved the hot hand, coaches, players and fans continued to believe.

Besides “enhancing our understanding of basketball,” the work of Stone and Arkes might have deeper implications into the “potential importance of psychological factors, confidence and momentum in performance in a range of contexts,” such as childhood education. “Better results early can give children confidence, making them more likely to achieve better results later,” the authors speculate.

Bowdoin Alumni Shaping Boston Tech Scene (Mashable)

John Harthorne '95 (Illustration: Chelee Ross '12)

John Harthorne ’95 (Illustration: Chelee Ross ’12)

Andy Palmer ’88

Andy Palmer ’88

Two Bowdoin alumni are included in Mashable’s list of the Top 15 people shaping Boston’s technology sector — John Harthorne and Andy Palmer. Harthorne is the founder and CEO of MassChallenge, an organization that supports fledgling entrepreneurs. Palmer founded Koas Labs, a shared workspace in Harvard Square for promising start-ups.