Structural Characteristics in Gambling
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Although structural characteristics may be important moderators of behaviour and cognition in gambling, empirical investigations of such characteristics are still needed. Through three laboratory based studies, this thesis presents original research on the effects of structural characteristics in gambling.
The main aim of study one was to investigate how within-session events affect subsequent gambling behaviour and gambling urges. Specifically, the aim was to investigate whether making a relatively large win early in a session involving a computer-simulated gambling situation would lead to prolonged gambling and elevated gambling urges, compared with making an identical win late in the gambling session.
The main aim of study two was to generate more knowledge about speed as a structural characteristic in gambling by comparing the effects of three different bet-to-outcome intervals on gamblers bet sizes, game evaluations and the illusion of control while gambling on a computer-simulated slot machine.
The main aim of study three was to corroborate and elaborate on the existing findings concerning gambling and music by investigating if the tempo of a musical soundtrack in a gambling situation would influence the number of bets placed, speed of placing bets and evaluation of the game.
In order to achieve these aims, three laboratory based experiments were conducted in which non-pathological participants took part in a computer simulated gambling simulation.
In Study 1, no effect of the sequential occurrence of the big win on subsequent gambling behaviour and cognitions was found. In Study 2, at-risk gamblers had a higher average bet size in the fastest version of the gambling situation, compared to no-problem gamblers. No effect was found on game evaluations or illusion of control. In Study 3, participants listening to slow music placed more bets than did participants listening to fast music, whereas participants listening to fast music placed bets quicker than did participants listening to slow music.
The results from these studies add to existing knowledge by building on previous findings and they help generate proposals for future investigations. The findings may also prove useful for clinical practice if incorporated into psychoeducational approaches.