Can structural characteristics of electronic gaming machines (egms) reduce cognitive control with a gambling session: implications for problem gambling interventions?

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Background and aims: In order to respond adaptively to losing within a gambling session, via paying attention to relevant punishment cues whilst inhibiting arousal and emotional urges, an individual must apply cognitive control. Problem gambling is often categorised as a disorder that is caused by pre-existing deficiencies in cognitive control. This study investigated whether the cognitive control of an Electronic Gambling Machine (EGM) player could be affected in the short term by the structural features of the game, namely the size of stake permitted.
Methods: In a repeated measures experiment, 32 adult frequent gamblers were required to gamble at high stakes, low stakes and no stakes, and the effect on cognitive control, via Response Inhibition and Reflection Impulsivity performance, was observed.
Results: Although stake size variation did not affect Response Inhibition performance, the quality of decision-making (in terms of Reflection Impulsivity) did significantly reduce when the participants were gambling in the higher stakes condition. These findings provide support for the proposition that structural characteristics of gambling activities can impact executive functioning relevant to cognitive control in gambling contexts. Conclusions: These findings indicate that the opportunity for participants to increase stake size on a gambling activity, as a structural characteristic, may be a risk factor for impaired cognitive performance when gambling, potentially creating vulnerability for within-session losschasing in some players.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberOP-82
Pages (from-to)40-40
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Behavioral Addictions
Issue numberSupplement 1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2017
EventInternational Conference on Behavioral Addictions - Haifa, Israel
Duration: 20 Feb 201722 Feb 2017
Conference number: 4

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