Over 500,000 people visited Farnam Street last month to expand their knowledge and improve their thinking. Work smarter, not harder with our free weekly newsletter which offers a collection of time-tested multidisciplinary knowledge you can add to your mental toolbox.

What are you really buying when you buy a lottery ticket?

Lotteries are a great place to study human misjudgment. They take your money and sell you a dream.

A lottery ticket is the ultimate example of the possibility effect. Without a ticket you cannot win, with a ticket you have a chance, and whether the chance is tiny or merely small matters little. Of course, what people acquire with a ticket is more than a chance to win; it is the right to dream pleasantly of winning

Via Thinking, Fast and Slow

Still curious? I've written about lotteries and gambling before:
How Vegas Turns Our Brain Into Mush
Lotteries and the Availability Bias
Making Good Citizenship Fun — Richard Thaler
“Near Misses” Encourage Problem Gambling

Filed Under: