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Baseball Science

Physicists say that the newly extended baseball season, where teams play a total of 162 games, gives weaker teams an advantage. Meanwhile, psychologists are trying to figure out how successful hitters keep their eye on the ball.

In LiveScience.com, Andrea Thompson writes that while the top teams usually win the most games, weaker teams might come out ahead in the new, extended season. When physicists Eli Ben-Naim and Nick W. Hengartner ran game simulations through their computer at Los Alamos to test for ?statistical randomness,? they found that a weak team needs to play 256 more games to overcome their weaker player lineup.

In another LiveScience article, Corey Binns explores how hitters can tell a curveball from a fastball in just a few seconds, so they can know how to position their bats. He quotes psychologist Jeremy Wilmer as saying, "?Individuals vary tremendously in this ability to lock their eyes onto a moving object, called smooth pursuit, and that this variation relates strongly to a specific type of motion perception ability, so-called high-level motion perception." In other words, it's a talent?but can you develop it or do you have to be born with it? The answer: both. According to Wilmer, "Our experience of the world normally appears quite seamless, but in fact our brain sees many aspects separately and knits them together into one experience of the world. Our study shows that substantial differences exist between individuals. As with most abilities, presumably an individual's skill at smooth pursuit is due to some combination of their genes and experiences."

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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