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.


32nd Annual Convention; Atlanta, GA; 2006

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #141
Current Advances in the Behavioral Analysis of Gambling: I
Sunday, May 28, 2006
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Ginger R. Wilson (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: The present series of papers will describe various advances in the behavioral analysis of gambling. Each paper will highlight various areas of new exciting research on gambling behavior. Experimental and applied issues will be presented and implications for treatment of pathological gamblers willl be suggested.
Incorporating fMRI Technology Into the Study of Gambling Behavior.
HOLLY L. BIHLER (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University), Reza Habib (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: The present paper will present a conceptual rationale and empirical data which support the inclusion of fMRI technology to supplement the behavioral analysis of pathological gambling. Non-treatment seeking problem gamblers and controls each completed extensive fMRI scans while viewing slot machine displays. During the experiment, the participants also had a 5-key, hand-operated key-pad strapped to their right hand. After each presentation of a slot machine display participants rated how close the previous display was to a win using the hand-operated key-pad by pressing the finger key that corresponded with the numbers 1-5 (not at all close to a win to very close to a win). Results indicated that near-misses were not only behaviorally different from total losses, but were also neurologically different. Brain regions activated by the near-miss appear similar to those activated by wins suggesting supplemental data to the behavioral observations. Differences between pathological and non-pathological gamblers were also observed. Implications for a comprehensive analysis of gambling are presented.
The Role of Experience on Video Poker Play.
JEFFREY N. WEATHERLY (University of North Dakota), Katie Farwell (University of North Dakota)
Abstract: The present study investigated the role previous experience plays on the behavior of video poker players. People who self identified as experienced or novice poker players were recruited to play three different video poker games. The games, bonus poker, jacks-or-better poker, and deuces wild, were selected because each differed in the strategy that would maximize reinforcement. Despite their “expertise,” experienced players did not always outperform novices on these games. Furthermore, experienced players made a significant number of mistakes in play. These results indicate that generalization of response strategies from one poker game to another may work against the gambler.
Do Slot Games Substitute for Poker?
CHARLES A. LYONS (Eastern Oregon University)
Abstract: In most of the United States, the legal public gambling environment began with limited state lottery games. In Oregon, the gaming menu quickly expanded to include scratch-off games and multi-state lotteries. In 1992, video poker was introduced, and it quickly became the largest source of legal gambling income in Oregon, accounting for 75% of gaming revenues. Although several other games were added to the Oregon gambling milieu between 1992 and 2004, none displaced video poker from its dominant position. In this context, the introduction of slot games in 2005 as an Oregon video lottery option is noteworthy, since slot games have been portrayed in the gambling literature as the “crack cocaine of gambling.” Players can now choose between slot games and poker games on the same video terminal. The extent to which slot games draw participants away from video poker in the public gaming environment offers important clues about the “commodity” of gambling and the structural characteristics of the most “addictive” games.
Can Relational Frame Theory Add to the Understanding of Pathological Gambling?
TAYLOR JOHNSON (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: The present paper will discuss the conceptual analysis of Relational Frame Theory and how it might be applied to the growing social concern of pathological gambling. Relational Frame Theory has provided behavior analysts with a post-Skinnerian account of language, and has repeatedly demonstrated utility of the approach in basic and applied research for some time. An application of RFT to gambling has been lacking, and it appears that such an application could hold promise for the treatment of pathological gamblers. The present paper will present a RFT conceptualization of how an individual may develop problems with gambling and how such problems might be reduced. Data will also be presented illustrating empirical support for the conceptualization of problem gambling as relational responding.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh