Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 271–285 | Cite as

Reports of Wins and Risk Taking: An Investigation of the Mediating Effect of the Illusion of Control

  • Frédéric MartinezEmail author
  • Valérie Le Floch
  • Bernard Gaffié
  • Gaëlle Villejoubert
Original Paper


Two experiments examined the relationships between the knowledge that another person has won in a gamble, the illusion of control and risk taking. Participants played a computer-simulated French roulette game individually. Before playing, some participants learnt that another person won a large amount of money. Results from a first experiment (n = 24) validated a causal model where the knowledge of another person’s win increased the illusion of control, measured with betting times, expectancy and self-reports on scales, which in turn encourages risk taking. In the second experiment (n = 36), some participants were told the previous player acknowledged the win to be fortuitous. The suppression of the belief that the previous winner had himself exerted control over the outcome resulted in lower rates of risk-taking behaviors. This suggests that it was not the knowledge of another person’s win in itself that increased risk taking, but rather, the belief that the other person had some control over the gamble’s outcome. Theoretical implications for the study of social mechanisms involved in gambling behavior are discussed.


Gambling Illusion of control Risk taking Social reference 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frédéric Martinez
    • 1
    Email author
  • Valérie Le Floch
    • 2
  • Bernard Gaffié
    • 2
  • Gaëlle Villejoubert
    • 3
  1. 1.GREPS EA 4163, Equipe PSECO, Institut de PsychologieUniversity of LyonBron CedexFrance
  2. 2.University of ToulouseToulouse CedexFrance
  3. 3.Kingston UniversityLondonUK

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