March Madness Brackets Can Decrease Enjoyment of Games

Welcome to this year’s NCAA March Madness basketball tournament!  Have you filled out your bracket?

Though office pools and online betting sites are a big draw for college basketball fans, they may actually decrease enjoyment while watching games, according to an expert who spoke to US News and World Report.

Stephen Nowlis, a marketing professor at the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, co-authored a study that found that people who make predictions about uncertain events, like a basketball game or other sporting events, experience significantly less enjoyment while watching the events than those who don’t make predictions.

“We thought the opposite would be true,” Nowlis said. But “predictions become more aversive when the outcome of the event is highly uncertain. …We explain our results in terms of anticipated regret.”

And as it turns out, it doesn’t matter whether a bracket wins or loses – either way, the bettor is still less happy than those who simply watch the games without betting.

“One compelling finding from our studies was that, among those who made predictions, participants who were correct enjoyed the event no more than those who were incorrect,” Nowlis said.

The study was published in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Click here to read more from US News and World Report.