• Michal Krawczyk
  • Joanna Rachubik

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Despite having the same probability of being drawn, certain number combinations are more popular than others among the lottery players. One explanation of such preferences is the representativeness heuristic (RH). Unlike previous hypothetical experiments, in the present experiment we used real-life lottery tickets, involving a high payout in case of winning to elicit true preferences. To verify if people prefer randomly-looking number combinations, participants were to choose a preferred ticket. To validate if it is likely to be caused by RH, we correlated preference for "random" sequences with the belief in dependence between subsequent coin tosses. We confirm that people strongly prefer random sequences and that a non-trivial fraction believes in dependence between coin tosses. However, there is no correlation between these two tendencies, questioning the RH explanation. By contrast, participants who have an (irrationally) strong preference for number combinations also tend to make (irrationally) specific predictions in the coin task. Unexpectedly, we find that females are considerably more likely to belong to this groups than males.