An exploratory investigation into the erroneous cognitions of pathological and social fruit machine gamblers

Abstract

Although the literature concerning the association between irrational thinking and gambling continues to grow, a number of methodological problems raise questions about the validity of such findings. The present research examined the cognitions and beliefs of a small convenience sample of pathological (n = 5) and social (n = 5) fruit machine gamblers using a within- and between-subjects design, employing the think-aloud method, the Gambling Beliefs Questionnaire, and a semistructured interview. Pathological gamblers were found to display greater levels of irrationality than social gamblers on all three measures. However, by undertaking a methodology more rigorous than that of previous research, this study found that irrational thinking may not be as prominent a reason behind gambling as has been suggested.

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