Science Indicates Why Bad Cowboys Lose Duels

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Science Indicates Why Bad Cowboys Lose Duels

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There may be a scientific explanation for why the good cowboy will always defeat the bad cowboy in a duel.

We've all seen it a million times: a good cowboy is forced into a duel with a bad cowboy, the bad cowboy draws first, and the good cowboy's reaction is so quick that he defeats the bad cowboy anyway. Then, the bad cowboy's henchmen aiming at the good cowboy from the roof are taken out by the townspeople, which doesn't have anything to do with this story, but should be mentioned anyway. Henchmen aside, scientists have discovered that there could be an evolutionary reason for the survival of the good cowboy, other than movie magic or a well placed firebox door in the case of Back to the Future III.

Physicist Niels Bohr allegedly once performed his own experiment involving this situation using toy pistols, and he won every duel against a fellow physicist despite always drawing second. Experimental psychologist Andrew Welchman of the UK's University of Bristol wanted to bring this experiment into the 21st century to see if there was any truth to it, and to find out if it could reveal something about the human mind.

His experiment didn't have any subjects aiming pistols at each other, sadly, but instead had them competing to push three buttons on a console in a specific order. Those who reacted to the first movements of their competitors moved around 9% faster then those who initiated the exchange, though the reacting subjects' movements tended to be less accurate.

Welchman believes: "It would be sensible for the brain to have a reactive system that went a bit faster than a system based on decisions or intentions." An inaccurate, but quick response system may have evolved in the human brain for when survival is at risk, where making an error is less important than having some kind of reaction at all. However, in the case of the cowboys we're talking about, expertise in the ways of the gun could reduce margin of error.

The study is not over-inflating the results found, as the scientists involved know that they are not incredibly significant. Still, a 9% quicker reaction time can easily be the difference between a win and a loss in many situations. I know that when I play Halo, I'll often surprise someone only to get embarrassingly owned despite beginning to empty my clip first. Now, we know one reason why this may occur. Either that, or I just suck at Halo.

(Via: Slashdot)

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Makes sense, pretty interesting to see a real study done on it though. Reaction and Action are different functions in the brain, the military has be drilling that into people for years "act, don't react" because reacting in that case could mean a dead terrorist, or it could mean a dead kid carrying the garbage out of his house.

So, if I'm a good cowboy, I can always beat the bad guy? This has been proven by Science?

Yee-haw!

Ermm....Dont they have something more important to work discover?

Still waiting for Mass Effect technology guys....

"Now, we know one reason why this may occur. Either that, or I just suck at Halo."
How about lag and/or host advantage?

I've shotgunned so many people lunging with the energy sword in halo... I think it's probably very true.

And going around corners and knicking teh knifer...

Wow, I never would have thought about it as a thing that was historically significant.

The final fight scene in Unforgiven is an effective demonstration of the principle. In general "keep your cool and act properly" works.

In Halo, too, situational awareness and experience trump "I started shooting first" 9 times out of 10. I've been on both sides of this, and the truth is... experience counts.

When I first read the title I thought "It's cause bad cowboys aren't good shooters." Took me a while to work out it meant bad guys, and not bad shooters.

Ooo an intrestign find! More science crap to talk about when im drunk xD

MurderousToaster:
So, if I'm a good cowboy, I can always beat the bad guy? This has been proven by Science?

Yee-haw!

hehe, Scientific proof the gooy guys always win!!!

Well, don't get carried away.

"You'd still be the one who gets shot, but you'd at least die satisfied that you were faster," said Andrew Welchman

The DSM:
Ermm....Dont they have something more important to work discover?

Still waiting for Mass Effect technology guys....

Which will be useless in terms of having biotics if we don't understand the mind.

I think professor Gamow was dissapointed that he always got shot too. Of course, being a theoretical physicist, he didn't ragequit, he just stopped observing Bohr to make his wave function collapse.

I can see how this works, and it makes sense, but the illogical irrational part of my mind is asking "Why can't the first to draw move as quickly as the second?"
But I'll just shut it up, because it's an idiot that liked the abomination that had menace and phantom in it's name.
I feel dirty just having said that.

According to Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday was the quickest shot he'd ever seen, but he also had a highly inaccurate aim, once drawing his gun and hitting an innocent bystander in the foot instead of the person he was aiming for.

In either case, it seems likely that drawing faster will reduce accuracy, but this still sounds like a plausible theory.

Guess I'll have to play as the good cowboy in Red Dead Redemption.

Heh.

This reminds me of the games of Call of Duty I played against a friend of mine.

He brushed it off by claiming it was because the computer I was playing on was slower, and couldn't render smoke as well (both computers were his, so if that's true, it's his own fault. XD)

But in any event, the amount of times he caught me unaware, only for me to rapidly turn around and head-shot him was a little freaky.

He opened fire first, yet I was the one that came out if it alive...

CrystalShadow:
He opened fire first, yet I was the one that came out if it alive...

If gaming has taught me anything, its that if you kill your attacker his bullet will disappear before it hits you causing no damage.

"Now, we know one reason why this may occur. Either that, or I just suck at Halo."

haha it's true, and quite embarrassing when you catch someone by surprise...from behind...and they still kill you
and if I'm tired, man my reaction time is so slow and I just play terribly...even more evident with CoD when I'm too tired to focus

Godamn ye science, ye ruin everything!

Ok it makes sense but cowboy duels are folklore myths, they dont happen as often as in western films.

Well, this was better than expected. I thought they would just come up with something obvius like "Because most writers for movies enjoys having the good cowboy win."

So, basically science just proved that good always prevails?

...
Cool

Really? I always assumed the plot forced it.

I hope no tax payer money was spent in this research... Did you know that 63% of scientific studys are useless?

OT: all joking aside, Pretty intersting read.

TheNamlessGuy:
So, basically science just proved that good always prevails?

...
Cool

What if the good guy has no arms?

Variables people variables.

Mcupobob:
I hope no tax payer money was spent in this research... Did you know that 63% of scientific studys are useless?

OT: all joking aside, Pretty intersting read.

Yeah, I'm with you man. Like, what has science ever done for us?

Sevre90210:

TheNamlessGuy:
So, basically science just proved that good always prevails?

...
Cool

What if the good guy has no arms?

Variables people variables.

Easy.

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MurderousToaster:
So, if I'm a good cowboy, I can always beat the bad guy? This has been proven by Science?

Yee-haw!

If you didn't start the conflict it is likely.

Unknower:

Mcupobob:
I hope no tax payer money was spent in this research... Did you know that 63% of scientific studys are useless?

OT: all joking aside, Pretty intersting read.

Yeah, I'm with you man. Like, what has science ever done for us?

I was talking about those studys that are like "the most dangourse room in you house is the bathroom" or somethinng to that extent.. Well duh with all the water and electronics everwhere. We knew that why did we need a study for it? Or example this one, we did we need to tell us that the good guy always wins?

fascinating.

I wish I could be a scientist. I'm pretty sure all labs are just one big playground for nerds.

Mcupobob:

Unknower:

Mcupobob:
I hope no tax payer money was spent in this research... Did you know that 63% of scientific studys are useless?

OT: all joking aside, Pretty intersting read.

Yeah, I'm with you man. Like, what has science ever done for us?

I was talking about those studys that are like "the most dangourse room in you house is the bathroom" or somethinng to that extent.. Well duh with all the water and electronics everwhere. We knew that why did we need a study for it? Or example this one, we did we need to tell us that the good guy always wins?

That's the authors spin on it. What they are telling us is that they have found evidence that could point to the fact that an unconscious reaction is faster than a conscious action, even if it is performing the exact same motions.

Is this significant in itself? Perhaps not. But with further studies it could give us new insight into how our nerve systems and brains work. And if it one day can be applied to medicine or neurosurgery that can save lives or cure diseases of the nervous system and brain, I would say it is very much important research.

Kenjitsuka:
"Now, we know one reason why this may occur. Either that, or I just suck at Halo."
How about lag and/or host advantage?

I've love to go back in the times of cowboys and hear the loser of the duel scream "You hosting, lagging bastard!"

OT: That's pretty interesting, and I see how it would work. Although, Call of Juarez was full of crap on the matter of duels...

MurderousToaster:
So, if I'm a good cowboy, I can always beat the bad guy? This has been proven by Science?

Yee-haw!

Excuse me while I go and dispense some justice.

MurderousToaster:
So, if I'm a good cowboy, I can always beat the bad guy? This has been proven by Science?

Yee-haw!

Especially if he's only armed with a sword................

OT: Yeah that makes sense, interesting find. Now let's go shoot some baddies

Tom Goldman:
I know that when I play Halo, I'll often surprise someone only to get embarrassingly owned despite beginning to empty my clip first.

That happens to me often. I get the jump on someone, unload half my clip into the back of their head and they turn around and pop me one in the face without breaking a sweat. Grrr!

Thank you science.

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