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

Previous Page


Symposium #406
Risk Taking at Gambling, Mathematics, and Golf
Monday, May 28, 2007
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
Madeleine CD
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Erica D. Pozzie (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale)
Abstract: Risk-taking can take place in different venues. Topics to be discussed are gambling, golf, and mathematics.
Teaching Gamblers Not to Quit, but to Gamble Better.
MARK R. DIXON (Southern Illinois University), James C. Jackson (Southern Illinois University), Erica D. Pozzie (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale), Laura L. Portera (Southern Illinois University), Taylor Johnson (Southern Illinois University), Mollie Horner King (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: This paper will showcase a recent investigation which attempted to train poor card players to play better. While the odds of winning are always in favor of the house, a gambler may in fact improve his frequency of winning using a series of card counting and/or mathematical probability techniques. 10 undergraduates with a history of playing the casino game of blackjack were initially observed in casino-like play for various lengths of gambling. In a multiple-baseline fashion, players underwent a training protocol consisting of feedback and hand training, which attempted to improve subsequent gambling performance. Results indicate that intervention techniques were sufficient to alter gambling performance and yield more positive winning outcomes for the participants. Implications of such training techniques for teaching gambling skills, and the ramifications for pathological gamblers are discussed.
The Impact of Uncertain Performance Rewards on Golfer Performance and Physiology.
JAMES BORDIERI (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: The present study examined the extent to which unpredictable cash rewards for putting accuracy would impact physiology and overall golf performance of 10 recreational golfers. Initially participants were exposed to a series of baseline 8 ft putts whereby shot accuracy yielded no programmed consequences. Following baseline observations, a random reinforcement contingency was instated whereby only a putt made on a randomly selected trial, and unknown to the golfer, would result in a significant monetary outcome. Results indicate that introduction of the uncertain reward introduced increased physiological arousal in most participants, along with self-reported measures of “stress.” Putting performance was also hindered during monetary reinforcement conditions. Implications for gaining a better understanding of risk, rewards, and sports performance are presented.
Gambling on the Brain: Some Implications of Neuroscience Research for the Behaviour Analysis of Gambling.
SIMON DYMOND (University of Wales, Swansea)
Abstract: Recent advances in neuro-imaging methods, particularly fMRI, offer exciting new collaborative research opportunities for behaviour analysts interested in gambling. For instance, data on the differential brain activation patterns of gamblers and non-gamblers during performance of gambling-related tasks, while not directly relevant to behaviour analysis, may provide a novel perspective on gamblers’ learning histories. The present paper will outline some of the key findings of neuroscience gambling research and will describe several of the gambling tasks employed. It will be suggested that (a) many of the tasks purporting to be gambling tasks do not have a corresponding real-world relevance and (b) that behaviour analysis has much to offer the design and conduct of future neuroscience research on gambling.
Trigonometric and Stimulus Relations: What are the Odds (and Evens)?
CHRIS NINNESS (Stephen F. Austin State University), Robin Rumph (Stephen F. Austin State University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University), Glen L. McCuller (Stephen F. Austin State University), Sharon K. Ninness (Nacogdoches Independent School District), James Holland (Stephen F. Austin State University)
Abstract: Participants who were unfamiliar with odd and even trigonometric functions took part in a computer-interactive matching-to-sample procedure that included training formula-to-formula and formula-to-graph relations as they addressed the odd or even properties of sine, cosine, secant, and cosecant. After participants demonstrated accurate responding in accordance with mutual entailment and combinatorial entailment, we assessed their abilities to identify complex variations of these functions altered in terms of frequency and amplitude. Then, we trained participants to illustrate transformations of isolated cosine functions using a Web-interactive drawing procedure. Following tests for mutual entailment, we reassessed participants’ abilities to identify a wide range of transformed functions in accordance with their reciprocals. After the experiment, participants estimated the accuracy of their performances and gambled on their accuracies. Amounts wagered by participants were compared to their individual estimates and their actual levels of accuracies.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh