Gamblers interpret near-misses as frustrating losses rather than near-wins, and that frustration stimulates the reward systems in the brain to promote continued gambling, which may contribute to addictive gambling behavior.
Analyses to date have shown that near-misses support persistent gambling and activate brain areas that reinforce certain behaviors. If near-misses are seen as near-wins, then they should be pleasurable. If, however, near-misses are highly frustrating losses, then they should be unpleasant. Dixon and team set out to shed light on this debate.
Researchers measured the time between the result of a spin and the initiation of the next spin following losses, near-misses and wins of various sizes among 122 participants as they played a slot machine simulator. Of the 122 gamblers, 22 were non-problem gamblers, 37 were at risk players and 23 were problem gamblers. The researchers also assessed the players' frustration levels by measuring the rate at which electricity travels through the skin. Skin responses reflect psychophysical changes as a result of frustration.
Dr. Mike Dixon from the University of Waterloo comments, "Our findings support the hypothesis that these types of near-misses are a particularly frustrating form of loss, and contradict the supposition that they are a mis-categorized win. Specifically, following these types of near-misses, participants may be driven to spin again as quickly as possible to remove themselves from a particularly frustrating state."
The analyses showed that progressively larger wins led to longer pauses between spins and increased arousal levels. Near-misses with jackpot symbols landing on the first two reels led to significantly larger skin responses than regular losses and other types of near-misses. In addition, the gamblers were compelled to repeat the spin as quickly as possible after this type of near miss.
“By activating what we call the appetitive component of the mesolimbic rewards system, these near-misses may help a player develop a hopeful, subjective impression that the next win is imminent,” said Dixon. “This might ultimately contribute to the sensitization of the appetitive system, which plays a key role in addictive behavior.”
Citation: Dixon MJ et al (2012). The frustrating effects of just missing the jackpot: slot machines near-misses trigger large skin conductance responses, but no post-reinforcement pauses. Journal of Gambling Studies DOI 10.1007/s10899-012-9333-x.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Science Left Behind: The Anti-Vaccine Update Update
- Moderate Pot Use By Adolescents Doesn't Hurt IQ
- What Americans Fear Most Isn't Ebola Or Terrorism, It's...
- Finding Fracking Fluids In The Environment
- Ashes And Vegetables: The Diet Of Roman Gladiators Was Rather Poor
- Manly Men And Feminine Women Are Not Evolutionary Mandates - They Are Urban Ones
- Cosmic Rays Jeopardize Deep-Space Astronaut Missions
- "The neurological aspect, specifically with amygdala downregulation is a key aspect to build the..."
- "dog is man's best friend and if you are looking for pet medication there are many websites on the..."
- "Good comment shining genji, but some people do not need fancy arguments to uphold their status..."
- "The terms you use repeatedly and your circlic logic reeks of one religious group, maybe you just..."
- "why are you in all the arguments? Teach me how to get into more arguments. Also, teach me wft to..."
- An end to fat shaming? The 50 year DNA mystery of metabolic dysfunction may soon be solved
- Egg freezing: a smart career move?
- Despite resistance, China will dominate future of GMOs
- Should Science and Nature run advertorial by wacky Dr. Bronner’s that misleads on GMOs?
- Jack the Ripper’s identity remains a mystery after error in DNA analysis revealed
- Seed patent primer: Is the use of GMOs preventing farmers from reusing their seeds?
- Teenage self-harm linked to problems in later life
- Unsteady on your feet? Little touches could make all the difference
- Promising blood biomarkers identified for colorectal cancer: Is a screening blood test within reach?
- Studies must be carried out to determine whether exercise slows the onset of type 1 diabetes in children and adults
- Clot dissolver tPA's tardy twin could aid in stroke recovery