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.


33rd Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2007

Event Details

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Symposium #337
BIG SIG Symposium I: Emerging Research in the Study of Gambling Behavior
Monday, May 28, 2007
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Madeleine CD
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Laura L. Portera (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: Topics will include recent research in gambling.
Choice in Free-Ranging Gamblers.
CHARLES A. LYONS (Eastern Oregon University)
Abstract: Since the introduction of line games into the Oregon state-sponsored gambling milieu in 2004, video lottery options (line games plus video poker) have accounted for over $15 million per week in state earnings from public wagering. Players’ demand for video poker, which had been the dominant gaming choice for the previous 14 years, has declined while demand for line games has increased, and in 2006 line games took over the dominant position in player preference. This substitution of line games for video poker indicates that both games supply a similar “commodity” to players not provided by other gaming alternatives. Thus, concurrent choice between these alternatives should be described by a matching function. Although public data do not allow analysis of individual choice behavior, earlier observations with free-ranging pigeons suggest that collective group choice between alternatives tends to match the relative rates of reinforcement for those alternatives (Baum, 1974). A comparison of the average relative odds of winning between line games and video poker games supports a matching analysis.
The Integrative Behavioral Model of Gambling: Preliminary Support and Long-Term Usefulness.
JEFFREY N. WEATHERLY (University of North Dakota), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University), Adam Derenne (University of North Dakota)
Abstract: Although the study of gambling behavior is beginning to occur at a greater frequency within behavior analysis than in the past, such research still makes up only a small proportion of literature on gambling. Several factors likely contribute to that fact, with one being that unlike other fields, behavior analysis does not have a theory of gambling. The Integrative Behavioral Model (IBM) of gambling behavior was recently forwarded to help correct that problem. The IBM posits that several causal mechanisms account for why certain individuals display pathological gambling behavior whereas others do not. For instance, certain risk factors serve as establishing operations for the reinforcer of monetary gain, which in turns leads to a change in how individuals discount delayed rewards. Verbal behaviors (i.e., rules) also play a key role, potentially serving as either establishing operations or discriminative stimuli. The consequence that maintains the gambling (e.g., monetary gain vs. escape) also has a role within IBM. The model is consistent with the existing literature as well as newly collected data. It should therefore be useful in promoting gambling research from a behavior-analytic perspective, as well as in helping researchers secure extramural funding.
Contextual Control of Response Allocation to Concurrently Available Slot Machines: A Replication and Extension of Zlomke and Dixon (2006).
MATTEO CELLA (University of Wales, Swansea), Simon Dymond (University of Wales, Swansea)
Abstract: A recent study by Zlomke and Dixon (2006) showed that responding on two, concurrently available simulated slot machines may come under non-arbitrary contextual control. Specifically, these researchers found that when the background colour of each slot machine was established as a contextual cue for more-than and less-than, respectively, higher rates of responding were observed in the presence of the ‘more-than’ cue, despite each machine having equal payoff probability. The present study sought to systematically replicate and extend this finding by (a) employing a different nonarbitrary relational training and test procedure, (b) manipulating the presence/absence of a prior sorting test, (c) reversing the contextual functions, and (d) obtaining self-report measures of potential problem gambling. Findings will be discussed in terms of the role of verbal, relational processes in the maintenance of gambling.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Compared to Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Treating Pathological Gambling.
TAYLOR JOHNSON (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: Despite the prevalence of pathological gambling, relatively few empirical studies have examined potential treatments. Currently, the most effective treatment appears to be Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). However, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) also holds promise for the treatment of pathological gambling. Thus, the current studied compared the effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy versus Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in treating pathological gambling. Compulsive gamblers were randomly assigned to recieve either 8 weeks of CBT or ACT. Each protocol consisted of an hour a week of 1:1 therapy. The results and implications will be discussed.



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