An Experiment on the Social Facilitation of Gambling Behavior
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Research and theory regarding the social facilitation effect generates the expectation that the presence of other gamblers (or co-actors) in a gaming venue is likely to intensify individual gambling behavior and magnify losses. Fifty male and 66 female participants (116 total) played a computer-simulated electronic gaming machine with a fixed winning sequence, followed by an indefinite losing sequence. Measures of the intensity of gambling behavior included the final payout (a direct measure of losses), average bet-size, number of trials played, and the speed of play. Some participants received false feedback from the computer designed to suggest that other gamers in adjacent rooms were playing and sometimes winning at the same game. Persons who received both sight and sound information, including winning bells and instant messages regarding the wins of other (fake) players, placed more bets and lost more money compared to the other conditions with less information.
KeywordsSlot Fruit Poker Group polarization Group effects Social influence Gambling
This research was supported by a grant from the Queensland Treasury Department, Australia.
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