## Wednesday, February 14, 2007

### Conning the Foolish

A foolish lottery player picks numbers based on obviously popular combinations. For example choosing numbers based on birthdays, house numbers and the other small numbers that make up our lives.
How do you make people to pick the one number you want? One way is to keep mentioning the number and once it is in their head the first thing they will think of will be the one you mentioned. “you could be the one” could be used in the advert etc. Anyone who has watched Darren Brown get people to pick an object can tell you this form of suggestion is not just paranoia but does have an effect
For example Darren Brown correctly predicts a single word that Iain Banks will choose completely at random from all of his published books before the book, page or word has been selected.

Another more way to influence the random numbers people pick is to use the play slip to influence them. People seem to regard odd numbers particularly prime ones as being more random.

Geometric patterns are important, whole theories exist on how to pick lotto numbers using magical shapes on the payslips.

The area of information theory called Kolmogorov complexity tells us that the number of patterns that can be defined geometrically (i.e. “Make a cross”) or with any regularity is a tiny fraction of all patterns.

What the lottery can do is make these geometric patterns appear more obvious and attractive to players by making the payslips.
Other patterns exist in the numbers picked by the foolish. Which I will deal later in selecting intelligent plays.