A Feedback-Response Pause Normalises Response Perseveration Deficits in Pathological Gamblers

  • Stephen J. Thompson
  • Philip J. Corr


A failure to inhibit punished responses is central to problematic gambling. We used a computerised card playing game to determine if this failure can be ameliorated by imposing a delay between feedback from the previous trial and the opportunity to play the next card. We compared two experimental conditions: No pause (Standard task) and a 5-s pause (Pause task). Community-based problematic gamblers (n = 42) were compared with a control group (n = 39). Number of cards played (and cash won/lost) and latency of response were measured. Results show that, compared to a control group, problematic gamblers perseverated longer and lost more money on the Standard task, but this deficit was abolished by the imposition of a 5-s pause. Results suggest that, by strengthening inhibitory control processes, problematic gambling on computer gaming machines can be significantly reduced by the imposition of a simple short-delay before the next bet.


Response preservation Feedback Pause Pathological gambling 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologySwansea UniversityWalesUK
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyCity University LondonLondonUK

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