In the news: Burns offers take on lotto madness

Whether you’re a lottery enthusiast or one who eschews the game, you can’t help but notice the intense attention around the Wednesday night (Nov. 28) drawing for the Powerball jackpot — now estimated at a cool $500 million. Nor can you ignore the host of news stories repeating the incredible odds against winning the big prize … but heck, maybe you bought a ticket anyway. Prof. Kate Burns, Human Development, helps explain why in today’s Green Bay Press-Gazette, which has a big front-page splash on the drawing. Ticket-buyers envision news stories about lottery winners, since no attention is paid to the millions of folks who don’t win, Burns said. People also believe that something that rarely provides rewards might pay off the next time. “The random element is reinforcing,” Burns said, likening the experience to repeatedly checking email in the hope it might bring good news. You can read the full story, here.