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Why flip a coin
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Why flip a coin

Date Published: 14th April 2020
Author: Floyd Erik
Coin-flipping as a method of decision making has a lot of history behind it. It has been used since time immemorial to choose an alternative on two distinct choices or resolve a dispute between two parties. But many don't know where it started or at least are not certain. Flipping a coin started with the Romans in the 7th century BC where it had different names, even before the emergence of coins. Since then, it has been popularly used worldwide to make easy decisions between two parties, where each of the parties chooses a coin face before it lands. The one who gets the correct prediction after the toss wins.

Why flip a coin?

In sports, flipping of a coin has been invaluably used especially sports and other games. It provides a 50/50 chance on certain game activities such as which team will attack first or defend. Also, from which venue the game will be played, either home grounds or away or which team gets to use the ball first among other things. This method has also been used in politics where some countries use it to determine the winner of an election after a tie. It has also been used in Canada to determine the winner of a city tender for painting lines on city streets. This is just an example of how the coin-toss has been used in decision making.

In sports, flipping of a coin

Many will agree that coin-flipping is a vital way of making decisions, nonetheless, it is already intensively in use. But is it fair or biased? There are some factors such as wind direction and sun position among other factors that are said to affect the coin-toss outcome. Research shows that if a perfect coin is used together with an honest toss the coin will exhibit a 1% bias or possibly more. A perfect coin is one free of wear and tear, dents and scratches and an honest toss is one which is done by an untrained coin-tosser. When a coin is tossed and allowed to clatter on the floor provides more randomness than when tossed and caught as stated by Persi Diaconis, Susan Holmes, and Richard Montgomery who conducted a research study on the coin-toss. Regarding the integrity of the coin-toss, it will be up to you to decide on how it will affect your decision and how important the decision being made is.

This method of making decisions might sound rational and reckless. It almost sounds like gambling. However, it has been proven that coin-tossing as a way of making decisions gives more light on your preferred decision. By forcing you to stick to that choice dictated by the coin-toss, it makes the consequences more real and therefore makes your feelings about the decision stronger.

Many a time you are torn between two challenging decisions that often makes them confused on which one to take even after carefully analyzing each choice. A coin-toss will come in very handy in helping you know which outcome you were hoping for all along and eventually help you make the decision you wanted.

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