Date: 02 May 2006

The Psychology of the Fruit Machine: The Role of Structural Characteristics (Revisited)

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Abstract

Over the past three decades, a number of authors have examined the role of structural characteristics as they appear to be important in the acquisition, development and maintenance of gambling behaviour. Furthermore, it has been argued that fruit machine gambling features more gambling-inducing structural characteristics than all other forms of gambling. However, it is clear that previous overviews in this area are now out of date in a number of key areas. This paper therefore reviews the changes in structural characteristics of the fruit machine over the last decade. Important changes in the structural characteristics of fruit machines will be discussed focusing on the small changes to established structural characteristics (e.g., the near miss, sound effects, light effects, colour effects, event frequencies etc.) as well as a more speculative examination of new and contemporary characteristics such as the importance of “features” and the psychology of familiarity.