Casino sounds and lights can encourage risky decisions, says study
AFP Relaxnews / 05:43 PM October 31, 2018
A study published in the JNeurosci journal from the Society for Neuroscience suggests that the lights and sounds used in casinos can influence the reactions of gamblers.
The research, conducted by Mariya Cherkasova, Luke Clark, Jason Barton, Michael Schulzer, Mahsa Shafiee, Alan Kingstone, Jon Stoessl and Catharine Winstanley, was inspired by previous research studying risk and reward behavior in rats. In that study, rats were found to be more willing to take risks when their food-based rewards were accompanied by jingles and flashing lights.
For this latest study, researchers asked over 100 adults to play gambling games that gave similar sensory feedback to players as slot machines at a real-life casino.
The scientists used eye-tracking technology to understand how individuals processed the information they were receiving.
The study found that when wins were accompanied by money imagery and victory jingles, participants paid less attention to information about their odds of winning. The researchers also found greater pupil dilation in the participants, signaling increased arousal or engagement in response to the sensory cues.
They found that in the absence of sensory feedback, participants exercised greater restraint when making decisions.
The study could help explain why certain people who find it hard to resist casino-style games have trouble stopping gambling even when their odds of winning are low.
Light-and sound-based stimuli may seem like harmless fun, but they could play an important role in gamblers’ decision-making and could contribute to addictive behavior. MKH