The Psychological Record

, Volume 65, Issue 1, pp 115–129 | Cite as

Simultaneously Observing Concurrently-Available Schedules as a Means to Study the Near Miss Event in Simulated Slot Machine Gambling

  • Benjamin N. Witts
  • Patrick M. Ghezzi
  • Morgan Manson
Original Article


Traditionally, near-miss events in games of skill provide feedback to an individual regarding his or her performance. However, in games of chance, like slot machine gambling, the use fails to carry over. A near miss in slot machine gambling may still be endorsed when most of the symbols falling on a payline match, though technically this arrangement provides no real measure of skill or progress. To date, attempts to study the near miss in slot machine gambling have used resistance to extinction and preference assessment preparations, both of which unsuccessfully capture any putative reinforcement properties. The current investigation introduces a new methodology to assess putative conditioned reinforcement properties of stimuli correlated with the near miss in simulated slot machine gambling by incorporating the observing response with concurrently available schedules, termed simultaneous observing. Successful tests of the methodology regarding schedule-correlated stimuli in relation to win rates demonstrate its potential use, and failure to identify a near-miss event as producing reinforcing effects for schedule-correlated stimuli adds credibility to its ability to discriminate between functions.


Gambling Conditioned reinforcement Observing response Humans 



The authors would like to thank Cleborne Maddux for his invaluable assistance with the statistical tests. We are indebted to the comments offered by the reviewers, and particularly to Reviewer 2’s interesting interpretation. This manuscript was completed as a doctoral dissertation by the first author


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin N. Witts
    • 1
    • 2
  • Patrick M. Ghezzi
    • 1
  • Morgan Manson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Nevada, RenoRenoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Community Psychology, Counseling, and Family TherapySt. Cloud State UniversitySt. CloudUSA

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