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  • So guys, terrible news!

  • Turns out I didn't win the Powerball drawing this week.

  • So close, yet also so far.

  • Hey, folks.

  • Laci Green here with another D News Update for you.

  • We all know the odds of winning the lottery are extremely low - like extremely, holy crap, I've never heard a statistic so small in my life low.

  • Powerball reports its current odds one-in-175-million.

  • That means that you're more likely to win a gold medal in the Olympics, more likely to win an Academy Award, and more likely to be hit by an asteroid, but that one sucks, so let's not think about it.

  • People who play the lottery know the odds are low.

  • They may not realize how low, but we know it's not likely.

  • And yet, more than half the country still plays, which is so fascinating and bizarre to me.

  • Why do hundreds of millions of people play a game they'll never win, a game in which you have to completely ignore logic, reason, and rationale to play in the first place?

  • There's got to be something going on here, right?

  • Of course, there always is.

  • Let's take a look at some of the leading studies.

  • Robert Williams, a sociologist who studies lotteries at the University of Lethbridge, says, one reason we play anyway is the sheer brain fart that these odds cause.

  • One in 175 million - our brain just can't understand how small that number is.

  • It's totally abstract.

  • But you know what isn't abstract?

  • Hopes and dreams, baby.

  • Buying a nice home, lounging on a tropical beach forever, not having to worry about making next month's rent, paying off that enormous health care bill, a convenient escape from loans or credit card debt, a convenient escape from poverty.

  • It's all very real up here - much more real than some incomprehensible statistic.

  • These fantasies activate areas of the brain linked to motivation and decision making.

  • And weighed against your hope, a dollar or two doesn't seem like much.

  • And shoot, a glitter of hope sure is fun.

  • A new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research also found that fantasies about specific material items, like a car or a yacht, actually break down our self-control.

  • In the study, those who bought a lottery ticket with a specific item in mind expressed a greater affinity for small, quick rewards rather than bigger but delayed rewards.

  • This break in self-control leads someone who buys one lottery ticket to buy more of them.

  • Another study at Carnegie Mellon found that feeling uncertain - for instance, about whether or not you could be the lucky one, cues the brain to seek resolution.

  • That little voice asking what could be, what might have been, sometimes results in what scientists call magical thinking, you know, superstition, the belief that I personally am above the odds.

  • Magical thinking means the brain finds an answer that isn't grounded in reality, but it feels good anyway.

  • When you think about it, it's applicable to a lot of things, not just the lottery.

  • Pair these factors up with all that sneaky but aggressive marketing prompting those fantasies, instilling false hope, egging you on, and, well, you got $65 billion being spent on lottery tickets every year.

  • In the comments or on Twitter @DNews, let me know, have you ever played the lottery?

  • What are some of the other reasons that we play against all the odds?

  • Thanks for tuning in, folks.

  • I'll catch you next time.

So guys, terrible news!

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