Reduced Risk-Taking After Prior Losses in Pathological Gamblers Under Treatment and Healthy Control Group but not in Problem Gamblers

Original Paper

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Risk-taking Prior losses Pathological gambling Loss-chasing Negative feedback Resilience 

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and ManagementUniversity of TrentoTrentoItaly
  2. 2.Department of Psychology and Cognitive SciencesUniversity of TrentoTrentoItaly

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