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

Abstract

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.

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Notes

  1. Modern slot machines may have over 100 paylines, though the traditional three matching symbols may still be present in the form of scatter symbol wins to initiate bonus games.

  2. Full scripts can be obtained by contacting the primary author.

  3. In the state in which the study was conducted, it is illegal to gamble with one’s own or someone else’s money, or for a cash prize, in an establishment without a gaming license. The procedure used disconnects the gambling outcome from the prize awarded.

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Acknowledgements

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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Witts, B.N., Ghezzi, P.M. & Manson, M. Simultaneously Observing Concurrently-Available Schedules as a Means to Study the Near Miss Event in Simulated Slot Machine Gambling. Psychol Rec 65, 115–129 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40732-014-0095-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40732-014-0095-y

Keywords

  • Gambling
  • Conditioned reinforcement
  • Observing response
  • Humans