Do you think luck is real

You just flipped four heads in a row, so the next one has to be tails, right? Wrong—the odds of flipping heads or tails is still 50/50, exactly the same as it has been every other time. This is called the "gambler's fallacy," and, according to a study published earlier this month in PNAS, our brains may be seeking out these sorts of patterns. "A major function of the human brain is to deal with the uncertainty in the real world in order to find regularities," says Yanlong Sun, a professor of microbial pathogenesis and immunology at Texas A&M College of Medicine and one of the study authors. Our neurons detect these patterns naturally and pay special attention to their timing, Sun says. Neurons prefer alternating patterns—it's the brain's way of "regressing to the mean," to correct for patterns that seem statistically unlikely. "Our study shows that our brains are probably smarter than we previously have thought, in that they are able to automatically pick up some very subtle yet important statistical structures in the environment," he says. But this new understanding doesn't change how Sun feels about luck overall—"As both a scientist and a person, I do believe in luck, that it is something I cannot manipulate or operate on. "