Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

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Paper Session #269
Sunday, May 30, 2010
3:30 PM–4:20 PM
Lone Star Ballroom Salon F (Grand Hyatt)
Area: EAB
Chair: Maree J. Hunt (Victoria University of Wellington)
Gambling During a Recession: Differential Stability Among Public Games
Domain: Experimental Analysis
CHARLES A. LYONS (Eastern Oregon University), Craig Leroy Moschkau (Eastern Oregon University)
Abstract: Participation in publicly-offered games of chance has been influenced by the international economic recession in Oregon, as in other U.S. states. However, not all public gambling options show the same reduction in demand in the face of economic hardship. Some games have continued to bring in stable levels of funding for states, while others have shown dramatic declines in sales. Data concerning public demand for the various gambling options available in Oregon were collected from the Oregon State Lottery across several years spanning various economic and political contexts. The dominant games in the Oregon public gambling milieu, which earlier analyses suggested owe their popularity to richer schedules of reinforcement and shorter delay to reward, now have shown the greatest loss in participation, while jackpot-driven games have remained generally stable throughout the economic downturn. The structural and temporal characteristics of these gambling options are the most likely variables in explaining the resulting differential demand in Oregon’s public lotteries.
Slot Machine Structural Characteristics, the Near Win, and Sensitivity to Reinforcement
Domain: Experimental Analysis
MAREE J. HUNT (Victoria University of Wellington), Blair Wallace (Victoria University of Wellington), Heather L. Peters (The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand), David N. Harper (Victoria University of Wellington)
Abstract: When compared with other forms of gambling, slot machine gambling is associated with a relatively high incidence of problem gambling (Holtgrave, 2009). Understanding the role structural characteristics of slot machines have in promoting this form of gambling may be useful for those dealing with problem gamblers. One common feature of slot machines is the presence of near-win outcomes, which closely resemble the physical features of win outcomes (e.g., on a machine where five identical symbols signal a win, four identical symbols would be a near win). In a series of experiments undergraduate students without a history of gambling problems played on either of two simulated five-symbol slot machine games. Over conditions the probability of winning and/or the probability of near wins on each machine varied. Data were analysed in terms of behaviour following various outcomes on either machine and in terms of choices made between the machines. Results indicated that near wins were treated as wins both in terms of response latency after each outcome and in sensitivity of choice to the reinforcer ratio. This finding may be due to stimulus generalisation or a product of past histories in other contexts such as sports where near wins do indicate that performance is becoming closer to a goal.



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