Hot Hand

DEFINITION of 'Hot Hand'

The notion that because one has had a string of successes, he or she is more likely to have continued success. For example, if one flipped a (fair) coin and guessed correctly that it would land on heads three times in a row, it might be said that they have a "hot hand." Under such circumstances, a person believes that their odds of guessing which side the coin will land on next are greater than the 50% they actually are.


The belief in a hot hand is one shared by many gamblers and investors alike, and is believed by psychologists to stem from the same source, the representative heuristic. For example, there is data to suggest that the decision of an investor to buy or sell a mutual fund depends largely on the track record of the fund manager, even though there is evidence that this factor is highly overrated. Hence, it would appear that such investors are making decisions based on whether or not they feel the fund managers are "hot" or not.