People toss coins with more vigor when the stakes are higher


We trust that the uncertainty regarding the outcome of a coin toss makes it a fair procedure for making a decision. Small differences in the force used to toss a coin should not affect this uncertainty. However, the voluntary movement involved in tossing a coin is subject to motivational influences arising from the anticipation of the value of the outcome of the toss. Presented here are measurements of hand velocities during coin tossing when the outcomes entail monetary gains and losses. Finger position measurements show that hand velocities are proportional to the amount of money at stake. Coin toss movements are faster and larger for higher stakes than for smaller monetary stakes.

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