BACKGROUND: The researchers were inspired by their own experience participating in a pool betting on the winner of the CBS television show Survivor. They were surprised when it seemed that people experienced more stress when they predicted the outcome of a contest. Intrigued, the researchers designed an experiment to test if this observation held up in a controlled setting. One group of participants was asked to predict the outcome of television shows and marble games, while the other group was asked to refrain and simply observe. Researchers then compared the two groups' enjoyment of the contests.
THE MATH OF FILLING OUT BETTING POOL FORMS: Combinatorics is a branch of mathematics concerned with counting individual objects, particularly units of a finite set, like a collection of marbles stored in a small pouch. Once primarily a mathematical curiosity, it is vital to many areas of modern technology. For example, it is a useful tool in determining probabilities and the number of structures possessing certain properties as applied to telephone (fiber optic) networks and computers. It can also be used to analyze industrial process schedules, electrical networks, and economics.