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.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #439
CE Offered: BACB
Developing and Evaluating Behavioral Models of Gambling Behavior: Implications for the Prevention and Treatment of Disordered Gambling
Monday, May 29, 2017
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Hyatt Regency, Capitol Ballroom 5-7
Area: CBM; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Jordan Belisle (Southern Illinois University)
CE Instructor: Jordan Belisle, M.S.
Abstract: Pathological gambling poses a large threat to the financial and psychological well-being of an individual. As the behavioral research on disordered gambling continues to grow, researchers are seeking not only treatments, but also preventative interventions. The current symposium investigates a wide variety of topics on the social, environmental, and economic variables that contribute to pathological gambling behavior. Research will be presented by an array of gambling laboratories that are working to fill the current gap in gambling research within behavior analysis. An analysis of the impact of gambling behavior in Tasmania will be discussed along with a corresponding pathway model for gambling. The persistence of gambling behavior in simulated settings will also be analyzed. A behavioral economic analyses is included to address the impact of contextual cues on gambling choices. The presented studies emphasize the need for preventative models of intervention for problem gambling and suggest possible reasons for the persistence of gambling behaviors.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Behavioral Economics, Gambling, Pathway Model, Persistence
The Social and Economic Impact of Gambling in Tasmania 2011: Pathways Model Analysis
DARREN R CHRISTENSEN (University of Lethbridge), Alun Jackson (University of Melbourne), Nicki Dowling (Deakin University), George Yosseuf (Monash University)
Abstract: The pathways model of problem and pathological gambling assumes a heterogeneous population comprising of three sub-groups that form a hierarchy of increasingly symptomology; behaviourally conditioned, emotionally vulnerable, and anti-social impulsivist. However, quantitative analyses of the pathways model is surprisingly rare as are mathematical analyses or investigations of the implied hierarchical nature of the model. Tasmanian residents who participated in a computer assisted telephone interview as part of the Social and Economic Impact Study of Gambling in 2011 were analysed based on their fit for the three sub-groups and the assumed hierarchy (see Figure 1). Analysing only electronic gaming machine players (n=828) we found significant associations for the behaviourally conditioned sub-group between negative triggers and gambling intensity with problem gambling severity. Importantly, a significant but small negative relationship was found between the quality of a respondent’s environment and problem gambling severity. Further, when the emotionally vulnerable proxy of any-drug use was added to the model a significant strong negative correlation was found between any-drug use and the environment. A similar negative correlation was found between the proxy for anti-social impulsivist, criminal contact, and the environment. These results suggest problematic gambling is driven primarily by negative triggers and gambling intensity.
Analysis of Human Adjunctive Behavior and Persistence During a Simulated Gambling Task
MARK JUSTIN RZESZUTEK (St. Cloud State University), Benjamin N. Witts (St. Cloud State University)
Abstract: A low estimate of the cost of pathological gambling to the American government is $5 billion per year. Outside of the financial costs to the government there are financial and psychological costs to the pathological gambler such as increased likelihood of depression, bankruptcy, and suicide. Therefore, the development of pathological gambling is of concern to both society at large and the pathological gambler. One factor in the development of pathological gambling may be related to complimentary food and drink given out by casinos while patrons gamble. Adjunctive, or schedule-induced behavior, may provide a means to study the interaction of consumption and gambling persistence. Falk (1977) described one of the possible functions of adjunctive behavior as reducing the probability an organism escaping from a sparse schedule of reinforcement by an increase in an alternative consummatory response. Escape prevention may alternatively be viewed as persistence, that being continuing to engage at a task when reinforcement is lean. Lean win schedules on slots machines may then produce adjunctive consumption and so increase gambling persistence. Thus, the purpose of this study was to fill the research gap on adjunctive behavior and persistence in humans while playing a simulated slot machine task.
A Behavioral Economic Analysis Towards Cue-Elicited Exposure on Gambling Cravings
TYLER S GLASSFORD (Saint Louis University), Alyssa N. Wilson (Saint Louis University)
Abstract: Purchase tasks are a technology commonly used to assess demand and relative reinforcer efficacy for addictive substances and activities (e.g., ultra-violet indoor tanning, cigarettes, alcohol, etc.). Past research has explored the effects of exposure to cues for other addictions, but there remains a paucity of evidence relating to gambling. The purpose of the present study was to assess the effect of cue-elicited exposure on the demand across multiple gambling dimensions. Recreational and at-risk gamblers were recruited for this study, and were asked to complete the Gambling Purchase Task in two environments, neutral then gambling. In the neutral environment, participants were asked to read a magazine of their choice in an office setting. In the gambling environment, participants were asked to play their favorite game in a replica casino setting, with the opportunity to earn raffle tickets based on their earnings. Results of the study demonstrate that participants had greater inelastic demand and maximum expenditure in the gambling environment for cover charge and credit price. These findings suggest that gamblers are less responsive to change in price and bet riskier when exposed to gambling cues. These findings replicate past regarding the effects of cues on demand for addictive behaviors.



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