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Unraveling the Psychology Behind 'Beginner's Luck'


Beginners often outwit experts at games like roulette, slot machines and poker at  Conquestador casino New Zealand . A Colorado girl won a beauty pageant on her very first try while an author made Chicken Soup for the Soul with their first submission - both examples of rookie success!

These successes could be attributable to luck alone, or may be the result of other factors. This article will outline four theories which attempt to explain why beginners seem to experience increased luck when starting something for the first time.

Theory of Flow

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi was an early proponent of flow theory at the University of Chicago. This state can be defined as an experience where time stands still and everything else becomes inconsequential, when your concentration becomes complete without distraction or anxiety.

Csikszentmihalyi believes that people are most likely to experience flow when their goal and the challenge they are attempting to overcome are perfectly aligned with their skill level. Too easy of an endeavor could lead to boredom while too complex of tasks could cause anxiety or discouragement.

Expert players often believe in beginner's luck; when novice players win it may appear as random chance; however there could be many other explanations, including similar skillset, lack of pressure and having more efficient brains.

Theory of Choking

Choking under pressure has long been seen as a phenomenon across various aspects of life, whether it's professional athletes struggling during a crucial game or actors having trouble with lines in movies - individuals underperforming in situations which hold personal significance can result in individuals underachieving their normal skill level.

Suboptimal performance has been described as "choking under pressure", and has been subject to extensive research in laboratory settings. Two main theories regarding this phenomenon have been proposed: Distraction Theory and Explicit Monitoring Theory.

Proponents of the distraction model suggest that choking under pressure results from individuals attending to task-irrelevant information while performing under pressure, leading to reduced deployment of working memory resources and consequently worsened performance. Conversely, proponents of explicit monitoring theory believe it results from overactive engagement of executive control-related brain regions during skill execution under duress causing overemotionality or anxiety that undermines performance.

Theory of Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias is a psychological phenomenon in which people seek information that confirms their existing beliefs and decisions while disregarding or distorting any that contradicts them. Confirmation bias can often lead to self-fulfilling prophecies.

One reason people exhibit this tendency is to protect their self-esteem. Finding out that a belief they hold may make them feel bad about themselves; therefore, to prevent this feeling from occurring they look for instances that support their views while disregarding evidence that would disprove them.

People's brains can only process so much new information at one time, so they tend to forget or remember only what they already know. This makes people more apt to recall positive events such as 12-year-old Brita Lawrence's discovery of the Medallion of Freedom while dismissing negative ones, like their own failures - this phenomenon is known as cherry picking; and can create the illusion of beginner's luck, when an individual believes they're winning due to having an outside perspective rather than skilled play.

Theory of Expectations

Many find it perplexing that beginners can outperform experts at any activity, yet this phenomenon known as beginner's luck exists. Beginner's luck occurs when an unseasoned individual experiences unexpected success - for instance a first-time slot machine player winning big.

Conventional theories of motivation typically assume that value and expectancy produce an attitude toward behavior; however, for this to have any real effect it must also conform to two other conditions: be normative in nature that supports what the behavior demands of it as well as motivated to comply with that norm.

Another implication of this theory is its reduction of conscious rational deliberation as the source of expectations formation. Instead, this theory proposes that most expectations are formed through nonconscious mental faculties using an evolving Bayesian-type updating process with affective evaluations (or valence) attached as weighting information for revision.

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