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.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Event Details

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Symposium #33
BIG SIG Symposium 2: Maintaining Variables of Gambling Behavior
Saturday, May 23, 2009
1:00 PM–2:20 PM
North 227 BC
Area: EAB; Domain: Experimental Analysis
Chair: Mary Ellen Garner (Southern Illinois University)
Discussant: Lindsay Beth Vick (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: Variables which contribute to continued engagement of gambling behavior are numerous. The present symposium is dedication to the further investigation of those maintaining variables with respect to gambling behavior by offering an experimental analysis of them. Ways in which we can address these potentially problematic maintaining variables via treatment are offered.
Alcohol as a Discriminative Stimulus for Gambling Behavior
ELLEN MEIER (Uninversity of North Dakota), Cody Link (University of North Dakota), Jeffrey N. Weatherly (University of North Dakota)
Abstract: The present study was an attempt to produce alcohol discrimination when gambling served as the dependent variable. Twelve non-pathological participants experienced two training sessions in which they consumed either alcohol or a placebo. They then played two slot-machine simulations, with one or the other paying out at a substantially substantially higher rate depending on which beverage had been consumed. Participants then experienced two test sessions, again consuming either alcohol or a placebo. In these sessions, participants could freely choose between the slot-machine simulations, which were programmed to pay out at identical rates. Results demonstrated that participants gambling during the test sessions varied as a function of beverage consumed. These results have implications for the role of substance use in the context of gambling.
Investigation of the Near-Miss Effect in a Game of Roulette
ADAM D. HAHS (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University), Nicholas Mui Ker Lik (Southern Illinois University), Becky L. Nastally (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: The present study was conducted in order to extend the literature on the near-miss effect in games of chance. Specifically, the study sought to investigate the near-miss effect in the game of roulette. Previous research has shown not only that participants rate near-miss losses closer to a win than non near-miss losses, but also that they play for more trials overall. Participants for the present study played on a modified version of roulette. They were asked to record their behavior on 4 dimensions of behavior which include their bet placement, the actual outcome, whether they won or not, and their closeness to winning rating. Results were discussed with respect to the near-miss effect in relation to typical gamblers’ behavior.
Gambling as a Verbal Event: Transformation of Slot Machine Response Functions in Accordance with Derived Comparative Relations
ALICE E HOON (Swansea University), Simon Dymond (Swansea University)
Abstract: Gambling behavior is likely maintained, at least in part, by verbal stimulus functions that may interact with, or override, programmed reinforcement contingencies. Contemporary behavior-analytic research on derived relational responding and the transformation of stimulus functions provides a means of investigating this issue. The present study sought to demonstrate a transformation of slot machine gambling functions in accordance with derived comparative (more than/less than) relations in novice gamblers. Participants were first exposed to a non-arbitrary relational training task designed to establish contextual cues for more-than and less-than relations, respectively. Next, the cues were employed in an arbitrary relational training task to establish five-member relational network. Participants then played a slot machine labeled C, a low payout probability slot machine, and a slot machine labeled with the novel stimulus X, a high payout probability slot machine. Finally, the test for transformation of functions involved presentations of pairs of stimuli from the relational network under extinction. The majority of participants demonstrated the predicted transformation of functions by consistently selecting the higher-ranking stimulus. The implications of the findings for contemporary behavior-analytic research on gambling are discussed.



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