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Newsy / Evan Thomas

The Scientific Way To Win At Rock-Paper-Scissors

An experiment suggests players tend to use a certain strategy, and you can exploit it.

By Ryan Biek | December 8, 2015

Everyone wants to win at rock-paper-scissors. But is there such a thing as a winning strategy?

In an experiment with 72 participants, Chinese researchers found winners tended to repeat their strategies in best-of-three series, while losers switched to the one that would have beaten their opponent the round before.

For example, if the loser threw rock the first round and the winner threw paper, the winner would be more likely to throw paper again, and the loser would be more likely to throw scissors.

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This cycle is known as a "conditional response" in game theory and was actually found to be less successful than picking plays at random.

Of course, the researchers noted if people are prone to using this "conditional response" strategy, it's only wise to exploit it.

Practice enough and you just might have what it takes to win a championship ... apparently those exist.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

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