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.


31st Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2005

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #200
BIG SIG Student Paper Symposium on Gambling
Sunday, May 29, 2005
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
International South (2nd floor)
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Mairi McAllister (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: This symposium will showcase the latest student driven research on the behavioral analysis of gambling.
Near Win or Loss: Perceptions of Luck and Gambling Patterns
DUSTIN DAUGHERTY (University of Northern Iowa), Otto H. Maclin (University of Northern Iowa)
Abstract: Research examining situations that elicit gambling behaviors has focused on the “near miss” phenomenon. Until now this research has focused specifically on a near “win” situation and largely ignored what will be called a near “loss” situation. Those researchers who have examined the near loss experience have found that these participants feel luckier than those individuals experiencing a near win. The study presented here compares the effects of near win/loss situations by offering participants the opportunity to play a Wheel of Fortune slot machine. Results indicate the near win experience may be reinforcing, however it is perceived as unlucky.
Toward an Animal Model of Gambling
ERIC E. EWAN (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire), Lesley R. Baird (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire), Gregory J. Madden (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire)
Abstract: Variable reinforcer amounts and work requirements are two salient features of gambling. We will present the results of three experiments that examine the effects of these variables on pigeon behavior. All of our research has been conducted in a closed economy. Experiment 1 examined consumption and labor supplied in a single-response context in which food was available according to either a RR or FR schedule. Experiment 2 examined choice across a range of food prices when food was available according to equivalent RR or FR schedules. The final experiment examined single-response behavior under a range of FR schedules when the reinforcer amount was either fixed or randomly determined (with the average amount of the latter being equal to the former). Our findings suggest that pigeons will work considerably more for food under a RR schedule than a FR schedule when the price of food is high. Likewise, pigeons increasingly prefer RR schedules as food prices increase. Fixed vs. random food amounts, however, did not systematically affect labor supplied or consumption at any price tested. These findings suggest that variable response requirements are a more important determinant of gambling than variable reinforcer amounts.
The Hunt for the New White Buffalo: The Impact of Legalized Gambling on Native Americans
KIMBERLY MOORE (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: The United States government’s legalization of Native American tribal gambling establishments in the late 1980s has resulted in a wave of economic, cultural, and psychological changes for the participating tribe, the surrounding geographic community, and the nation at large. However, the net gain of legalized tribal gambling has been met with mixed opinion. Many supporters of tribal gambling claim that legalization provides a new financial opportunity that can aid underemployed and poverty stricken Native American communities. To supporters, the Native American community has found their “new white buffalo.” Other critics proclaim the opposite. Native American gambling is the United States government’s latest attempt to make a financial profit at the expense of the native American culture. To opponents, legalized tribal gambling is destined to destroy the very fabric of the communities it was designed to help. This chapter reviews the history of legalized Native American gambling in the United States and highlights the social, economic, and psychological issues that legalization has generated. The paper additionally explores the interwoven contingency arrangements that legalized gambling has created and discusses these contingencies and related dynamics from a behavior analytic perspective.
From Research to Treatment: The Gap in Behavior Analysis’ Contribution to the Study of Problem Gambling
MAIRI MCALLISTER (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University), Ashton J. Robinson (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: The present paper discusses the current gap between experimental analyses of gambling and treatment applications for problem gamblers. The “state of the art” assessment of pathological gamblers is currently a single questionnaire of questionable reliability and validity. Many of the popular treatment methods have poor outcomes. Behavior analysis has been making considerable advances at understanding the dynamics of gambling play, but minimal has been done revolving around assessment, treatment and prevention. Therefore, this paper will highlight a novel means of assessing gambling severity, the functions which may sustain excessive gambling behavior, and present a new model of behaviorally based treatment. Implications for the study of gambling in applied clinical settings will be presented.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh