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

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Symposium #188
Current Advances in the Behavioral Analysis of Gambling: II
Sunday, May 28, 2006
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Laura L. Portera (Southern Illinois University)
Discussant: Patrick M. Ghezzi (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 will be suggested.
Wanting to Lose, But Only Certain Ways.
HOLLY L. BIHLER (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: The present study examined the illogical preference of many gamblers to select one of two concurrently available slot machines that displayed a certain type of loss when wins across both games were equal. The type of loss preferred, is termed a near-miss, or a close approximation to a win. Nonetheless, the preference for this slot option can be altered indirectly via a transfer of stimulus functions. After obtaining baseline steady state performance on equal probability slot machines, conditional discrimination training and testing procedures were introduced in an attempt to alter the potential behavioral functions that accompanied the near-miss display. After such exposure to various stimuli and attempts to transfer functions, most players altered their response allocations to the concurrent slot machines, suggesting that preference is transient, and modifiable indirectly in the absence of direct contingency manipulations. These data illustrate the complex nature of what results in a gambler’s preference across games, and may suggest why certain people develop into pathological gamblers while others do not. Implications and future directions for research will be discussed.
The Illusion of Control and Exposure to Multiple Gambling Simulation Trials.
W. SCOTT WOOD (Drake University), Maria M. Clapham (Drake University)
Abstract: Wood and Clapham (2003) developed the Drake Beliefs about Chance (DBC) inventory to assess erroneous beliefs about games of chance and determine their association with gambling behavior. The DBC inventory provides an overall score and individual scores on two dimensions: Illusion of Control and Superstition. Survey research shows that scores on the DBC are positively correlated with several measures of gambling behavior (Wood & Clapham, in press). Further, these DBC belief factors are positively associated with certain measures of gambling behavior in laboratory simulations of slot machine play. Specifically, students with high DBC scores played longer and faster than students with lower scores as tested in a slot machine simulation session. (Wood, Clapham, Eigenberg, Kolker, & Murphy, 2005) The present investigation extends this research to examine the predictive relationship of the Illusion of Control factor to gambling performance patterns across multiple sessions of slot machine simulation play by student subjects, as well as determine whether or not there were changes in Illusion of Control scores as a result of this exposure. This investigation focused only on the Illusion of Control dimension of the DBC as a predictor variable. Previous research has demonstrated that the second factor, Superstition, adds little to the predictive validity of the first. Preliminary results indicate that high and low Illusion of Control scores continue to correlate with differing behavior patterns among students playing simulated slots, characterized principally by higher rates of play and larger wagers by the higher scorers. Additionally, students who initially obtained high and low Illusion of Control scores tended to display more moderate scores in post testing. High scorers came down in their measures of Illusion of Control following the five sessions of play while low scorers went up. Interestingly, these changes in Illusion of Control scores were not reflected in the students' patterns of play, which continued to differ systematically across all sessions.
Sensory Feedback in Maintaining Slot Machine Play.
BRADY J. PHELPS (South Dakota State University), Nathan Maas (South Dakota State University)
Abstract: Two Japanese-style slot machines that were disabled from accepting or dispensing coins but which provided tokens and various sights and sounds contingent upon playing were used to investigate theroles of sensory feedback in maintaining slot machine play. While the machines could be programmed to win at different percentages, winnings consisted of sensory events and tokens which were not exchangeable for any reinforcers. After a required number of plays, which machine if any would result in willingness to continue playing?



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