Reduced Risk-Taking After Prior Losses in Pathological Gamblers Under Treatment and Healthy Control Group but not in Problem Gamblers
A group of pathological gamblers and a group of problem gamblers (i.e., gamblers at risk of becoming pathological) were compared to healthy controls on their risk-taking propensity after prior losses. Each participant played both the Balloon Analogue Risk Taking task (BART) and a modified version of the same task, where individuals face five repeated predetermined early losses at the onset of the game. No significant difference in risk-taking was found between groups on the standard BART task, while significant differences emerged when comparing behaviors in the two tasks: both pathological gamblers and controls reduced their risk-taking tendency after prior losses in the modified BART compared to the standard BART, whereas problem gamblers showed no reduction in risk-taking after prior losses. We interpret these results as a sign of a reduced sensitivity to negative feedback in problem gamblers which might contribute to explain their loss-chasing tendency.
KeywordsRisk-taking Prior losses Pathological gambling Loss-chasing Negative feedback Resilience
This study was funded by the Autonomous Province of Trento (PAT) (“Pre.GIO.—Monitoraggio e prevenzione del gioco d’azzardo patologico in Trentino”, Atto esecutivo 2013, Area di ricerca 1—Rapporti sulla sicurezza in Trentino—Linea di attività 2). This experiment (Nicolao Bonini, P.I.) was part of that more extensive research project.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
Nicolao Bonini declares that he has no conflict of interest. Alessandro Grecucci declares that he has no conflict of interest. Manuel Nicolè declares that he has no conflict of interest. Lucia Savadori declares that she has no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed) (DSM-5). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.) TR., 280. doi: 10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596.744053.
- APA. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., pp. 69–81). Washington: APA.Google Scholar
- Cazzell, M., Li, L., Lin, Z. J., Patel, S. J., & Liu, H. (2012). Comparison of neural correlates of risk decision making between genders: An exploratory fNIRS study of the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART). NeuroImage, 62(3), 1896–1911. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.05.030.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Ciccarelli, M., Griffiths, M. D., Nigro, G., & Cosenza, M. (2017). Decision making, cognitive distortions and emotional distress: A comparison between pathological gamblers and healthy controls. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 54, 204–210. doi: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2016.08.012.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Damasio, A. R. (1994). Descartes’ error: Emotion, rationality and the human brain (p. 352). New York: Putnam.Google Scholar
- de Ruiter, M. B., Veltman, D. J., Goudriaan, A. E., Oosterlaan, J., Sjoerds, Z., & van den Brink, W. (2009). Response perseveration and ventral prefrontal sensitivity to reward and punishment in male problem gamblers and smokers. Neuropsychopharmacology : Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 34(4), 1027–1038. doi: 10.1038/npp.2008.175;10.1038/npp.2008.175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Figner, B., Mackinlay, R. J., Wilkening, F., & Weber, E. U. (2009). Affective and deliberative processes in risky choice: age differences in risk taking in the Columbia Card Task. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 35(3), 709–730. doi: 10.1037/a0014983.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Franken, I. H. A., Georgieva, I., Muris, P., & Dijksterhuis, A. (2006). The rich get richer and the poor get poorer: On risk aversion in behavioral decision-making. Judgment and Decision Making, 1(2), 153–158.Google Scholar
- Goodman, W. K., Price, L. H., Rasmussen, S. A., Mazure, C., Fleischmann, R. L., Hill, C. L., et al. (1989). The Yale-Brown obsessive compulsive scale. I. Development, use, and reliability. Archives of General Psychiatry, 46(11), 1006–1011. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.1989.01810110048007.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Krmpotich, T., Mikulich-Gilbertson, S., Sakai, J., Thompson, L., Banich, M. T., & Tanabe, J. (2015). Impaired decision-making, higher impulsivity, and drug severity in substance dependence and pathological gambling. Journal of Addiction Medicine, 9(4), 273–280. doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000129.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Lauriola, M., Panno, A., Levin, I. P., & Lejuez, C. W. (2014). Individual differences in risky decision making : A meta-analysis of sensation seeking and impulsivity with the Balloon Analogue Risk Task. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 36(April 2013), 20–36. doi: 10.1002/bdm.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Ledgerwood, D. M., Alessi, S. M., Phoenix, N., & Petry, N. M. (2009). Behavioral assessment of impulsivity in pathological gamblers with and without substance use disorder histories versus healthy controls. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 105(1–2), 89–96. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2009.06.011.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Lejuez, C. W., Aklin, W., Daughters, S., Zvolensky, M., Kahler, C., & Gwadz, M. (2007). Reliability and validity of the youth version of the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART-Y) in the assessment of risk-taking behavior among inner-city adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 36(1), 106–111. doi: 10.1080/15374410709336573.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Lejuez, C. W., Aklin, W. M., Jones, H. A., Richards, J. B., Strong, D. R., Kahler, C. W., et al. (2003). The Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART) differentiates smokers and nonsmokers. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 11(1), 26–33. doi: 10.1037/1064-12188.8.131.52.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Lejuez, C. W., Read, J. P., Kahler, C. W., Richards, J. B., Ramsey, S. E., Stuart, G. L., et al. (2002). Evaluation of a behavioral measure of risk taking: The Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 8(2), 75–84. doi: 10.1037//1076-898X.8.2.75.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Lynam, D. R., Smith, G. T., Whiteside, S. P., & Cyders, M. A. (2006). The UPPS-P: Assessing five personality pathways to impulsive behavior. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University.Google Scholar
- Pallanti, S., DeCaria, C. M., Grant, J. E., Urpe, M., & Hollander, E. (2005). Reliability and validity of the pathological gambling adaptation of the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (PG-YBOCS). Journal of Gambling Studies, 21(4), 431–443. doi: 10.1007/s10899-005-5557-3.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Patton, J. H., Stanford, M. S., & Barratt, E. S. (1995). Factor structure of the barratt impulsiveness scale. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 51(6), 768–774. doi: 10.1002/1097-4679(199511)51:6<768:AID-JCLP2270510607>3.0.CO;2-1.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Rosi, A., Cavallini, E., Gamboz, N., & Russo, R. (2016). On the generality of the effect of experiencing prior gains and losses on the Iowa Gambling Task: A study on young and old adults. Judgment and Decision Making, 11(2), 185–196.Google Scholar
- Schellinck, T., & Schrans, T. (1998). The 1998 Nova Scotia video lottery survey. Canada: Halifax.Google Scholar
- World Health Organization. (1993). The ICD-10 classification of mental and behavioural disorders: Diagnostic criteria for research. Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar