What makes people take risks? Not stunt women or Formula 1 drivers. Just ordinary people like you and me. Research published this week in PLOS ONE suggests that unexpected improvements in everyday life (sunshine after many days of rain or a win by a local sports team) are correlated with a change in a city's mood and an increased likelihood that it's citizens will do risky things like gamble.
Cessation fatigue increased in the first six weeks of a quit attempt and increased the likelihood of relapse, report researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Higher cessation fatigue also predicted worse performance on several other important cessation milestones. Cessation fatigue offers a new target for treatment interventions, using either existing pharmacological therapies or mobile Health technologies designed to reduce the stress of a quit attempt.
A study using animal-attached technology to measure food consumption in four very different wild vertebrates has revealed that animals using a high-risk strategy to find rarer food are particularly susceptible to becoming extinct, as they fail to gather food for their young before they starve.
The blinking lights and exciting jingles in casinos may encourage risky decision-making and potentially promote problem gambling behaviour, suggests new research from the University of British Columbia.
The intense audiovisual feedback from slot machines can directly influence a player's decisions, suggests a laboratory study of more than 100 healthy adults published in JNeurosci. The research raises new concerns that these machines and similar devices promote problematic gambling.
A new CAMH study shows that free gambling-themed games may be a gateway to paid gambling for young people, and gameplay is linked with a higher risk of gambling problems among some adolescents. Called social casino games, they let people try their hand at casino table games, slots, poker or bingo without betting real money. Nearly one in eight high school students said they had played social casino games in the past three months.
Warren Bickel, the director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute (VTCRI) Addiction Recovery Research Center, and Keith Humphreys, the Esther Ting Memorial Professor in psychiatry and behavioral science at Stanford University, called their colleagues to action in an article published in JAMA Psychiatry, a journal of the American Medical Association.
The brain's orbitofrontal cortex deals with social interactions, including regret, and has been much studied with fMRI and EEG. Using ECoG, which provides more detailed information about brain activity on millisecond timescales and with better resolution, researchers were able to follow the thoughts that swirl through this brain area during a simple betting game. Surprisingly, after placing a bet, gamblers dwell mostly on regret over previous bets, whether won or lost, essentially second-guessing previous decisions.
In-game purchasing systems, such as 'loot boxes', in popular online games resemble gambling and may pose financial risks for vulnerable players, according to gambling psychology researchers at the University of Adelaide.
An editorial published today by Addiction argues that some online games use in-game purchasing systems that disguise or withhold the long-term cost of microtransactions until the player is already financially and psychologically committed. Such purchasing systems push free-to-play online gaming closer to gambling and may present financial risks for vulnerable players.