In a surprising turn of events, researchers have found that the age-old practice of flipping a coin doesn't actually result in a 50/50 chance of landing on heads or tails. Instead, there's a slight bias in the outcome.
Scientists have long considered the coin toss as a fair way to break a tie or make a decision between two equally likely outcomes. However, recent research suggests that this isn't the case. Scientists have discovered a natural bias that occurs when flipping a coin, according to a pre-print study published on arXiv.
After flipping coins over 350,000 times, experts found a 'same-side' bias, meaning the side that starts face up is slightly more likely to end up the same way, as reported by New Atlas. This was also confirmed by a Reddit user in a post on Today I Learned (TIL).
While the bias is small, with a same-side bias across more than 350,000 coin flips at 50.8 percent as reported by Popular Mechanics, it's enough to challenge the common belief that a coin flip provides an equal chance for both outcomes.
Despite these findings, the bias is not significant enough to discourage the use of coin flips for everyday decisions. As long as both parties involved in the coin toss are aware of the slight bias, it can still be used as a relatively fair method of decision-making.
The discovery of the coin toss bias adds another layer of complexity to the simple act of flipping a coin and may change the way we think about probability and chance.