Volume 23 Issue 3 (July-September 2007)
Judgement in Forecasting
edited by Mathew Parackal, Paul Goodwin, Marcus O'Connor
Predicting Wimbledon 2005 tennis results by mere player name recognition
The outcomes of matches in the 2005 Wimbledon Gentlemen's tennis competition were predicted by mere player name recognition. In a field study, amateur tennis players (n=79) and laypeople (n=105) indicated players' names they recognized, and predicted match outcomes. Predictions based on recognition rankings aggregated over all participants correctly predicted 70% of all matches. These recognition predictions were equal to or better than predictions based on official ATP rankings and the seedings of Wimbledon experts, while online betting odds led to more accurate forecasts. When applicable, individual amateurs and laypeople made accurate predictions by relying on individual name recognition. However, for cases in which individuals did not recognize either of the two players, their average prediction accuracy across all matches was low. The study shows that simple heuristics that rely on a few valid cues can lead to highly accurate forecasts.