Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Symposium #363
Investigating gambling problems: Through the behavioral analytic lens
Monday, May 25, 2015
1:00 PM–1:50 PM
006D (CC)
Area: EAB/TPC; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Karl Gunnarsson (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)
Abstract: Gambling as a leisure activity has been gaining popularity in the past decades. Both positive and negative side effects of gambling have been observed. Societal and personal gains have been made for many, and for others the gains have only been aversive in nature. The aim of the current symposium is to present research that has been conducted by our team of investigators, and to presenting data we provide a conceptual discussion about how behavior analysts can contribute to the field of gambling research and at the same time expand our own. Our symposium will be diverse; we will look at basic research, discuss how to conduct research at gambling establishments, and also we will have a conceptual discussion on behavioral economics and the way behavioral economic research methods can improve current research and understanding of the variables that influence pathological gambling. This symposium is meant for anyone interested in gambling and behavior analysis, and anyone interested in lively discussions on important societal issues.
Keyword(s): Addiction, Behavioral-economics, Gambling
Direct observation of gambling behavior in gambling settings
MAUREEN O'CONNOR (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Emily Durako (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Karl Gunnarsson (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: A common problem amongst gambling researchers is finding casino owners that will allow them to conduct research within their establishments. The reasons why casino companies do not allow researchers to conduct investigations at their establishments are many, both of financial origin, and ethical. The need still remains, that researchers have to understand gambling behavior in the context of gambling. One way to investigate gambling behaviors at casinos is to do direct observations of public behaviors. In the current study, our research team investigated happiness level of gamblers when playing slot machines, and compared it to gamblers playing table games. The results indicated that despite winning, the slot machine gamblers did not engage in overt behaviors indicative of happiness. Gamblers playing table games did engage in more overt behaviors indicative of happiness. The implications of the study are discussed with regard to pathological gambling and the effects of gambling on society.
Experimental and natural observation of the game of Craps
ALLISON RIBLEY (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Karl Gunnarsson (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Jomi Hirata (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Brian Morgan (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Jacob H. Daar (Southern Illinois University ), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: Various “expert” gamblers offer various strategies to novice gamblers with a promise of great gains of money. In the game of Craps there are many online “experts” that provide these strategies for free. In the current study the authors investigated the effectiveness of these strategies through a natural and experimental observation of gambling behaviors. Nine recreational gambles were trained on strategies and then observed utilizing them during a game of Craps. In order to evaluate the effects of differing strategies within subjects, the participants were presented with more than one strategy during gameplay. The results indicated that some strategies were superior to others in regard to monetary outcomes. With gambling becoming more popular as a leisure activity and with the presentation of gambling in popular media pathological gambling may become of greater concern in coming years. Implications of the results are discussed in regards to problem and pathological gambling.
The use of Behavioral economics in behavior analytic gambling research: A conceptual discussion
SARAH STERNQUIST (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Karl Gunnarsson (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: In the current behavior analytic literature on gambling there is ample space for behavioral economical investigations. The behavioral economical model could be effective in the analysis and identification of variables influencing pathological gambling. The current talk will be a theoretical discussion the value of behavioral economics in regards to gambling research and pathological gambling. We will demonstrate preliminary research that has been conducted at the Gambling laboratory at Southern Illinois University. The discussion will be aimed at providing an argument for how future research might be constructed in order to alter the factors commonly described as contributing to pathological gambling (i.e. contingencies, verbal behavior, and, motivating operations and setting events). This discussion will aim to shed some light on possible treatment procedures that can be derived from current and future researches and how a possible clinical model could be constructed.



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