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.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Symposium #236
Behavior Analysis of Gambling Behavior
Sunday, May 27, 2012
3:30 PM–4:50 PM
607 (Convention Center)
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Frank D. Buono (Southern Illinois University)
Discussant: Jeffrey N. Weatherly (University of North Dakota)

Though gambling already consistently ranks among the countrys most profiting leisure activities, casinos and gambling in general are rapidly becoming more prevalent across the United States. Along with this increase in availability, an increase in the rates of problem and pathological gambling may soon be observed as well. The behavior analytic approach and techniques derived from a science of behavior could provide high utility in the control of pathological gambling. Investigations of the influence of the environment, the various complex schedules of reinforcement typically contacted in a gambling context, the evocative effects of gambling-related stimuli frequently present in casinos, and motivating operations involved in gambling behavior are all warranted. With the development of an understanding of how the principles of behavior operate and affect responses of gamblers in a casino setting, more effective, efficient, durable, and feasible treatments can be developed to combat the problem of pathological gambling or prevent its development.

Keyword(s): gambling, slot machine
Humans’ Preference for Gambling on a Concurrent Chains Task
ANDREW E. BRANDT (Ohio Wesleyan University)
Abstract: Researchers have long been able to design laboratory simulated games of chance that closely mimic their real-world counterparts, however, a gulf remains between the mechanisms by which monetary wagers become possible in these two settings. Participants in the current study completed a concurrent chain task, played with credits exchangeable for money, where one terminal link led to probabilistic credit gains and losses on a simulated slot machine and the other made credits available on a VR schedule. One feature of this task is that it does not require the experimenter to stake participants with money prior to a gambling session because credits may be earned within a session. The aim of the project was to test pre- and within-session procedural variables designed to influence the reinforcing value of the credits (pre-session factor, low or high detail instructions about the monetary exchange that followed each session; within-session factor, feedback about the amount of money accumulated after 10 trail blocks). The results indicated that regular feedback and experience produced greater risk aversion, and in general, support the use of the concurrent chain procedure as a means for reducing the need to stake participants with credits prior to a gambling session.
Effects of Mental Imagery on Gambling Behavior
SETH W. WHITING (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: The influence of a brief mental imagery task was examined to determine if the imagined engagement in gambling behaviors could satiate the participant on gambling-related reinforcers and subsequently reduce gambling behavior. Thirty graduate and undergraduate students underwent a mental imagery task consisting of either imagining gambling on a slot machine 30 times and placing quarters in to a laundry machine 3 times, or imagining gambling on a slot machine 3 times and placing quarters in a laundry machine 30 times. Following all trials of the imagery task, participants were allowed to play a live Double Diamond Haywire™ slot machine and stop whenever they wanted to be finished. The results showed that those who imagined playing the slot machine 30 times before actually gambling played significantly fewer trials than those who imagined playing only 3 times. Clinical implications in the treatment of problem gambling and prevention, and future research directions are discussed.

Evaluating Preference and Rate of Play on a Video Slot Machine

Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University), JEFFREY R. MILLER (Southern Illinois University), Seth W. Whiting (Southern Illinois University), Alyssa N. Wilson (Southern Illinois University - Carbondale), Allie M. Hensel (Southern Illinois University - Carbondale)

Casinos almost exclusively use five-reel slot video machines and rarely use the traditional three-reel slot machines. Despite the increase in popularity of new five-reel machines, limited research has been conducted on the characteristics of play associated with video slot machines. The present study examined participants play on a five-reel video slot machine, comparing rate of play while betting one credit on fives lines versus five credits on one line. After participants were exposed to both conditions they were required to choose the condition they preferred to play on, and were allowed to replay the selected condition. The results showed that participants played at a significantly higher rate while playing during the one line with five credits setting. The results also found that 12 out of 16 participants selected to play on the one credit with five credits condition when participants were given the option to choose the settings of the slot machine.




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