Effect of casino-related sound, red light and pairs on decision-making during the Iowa Gambling Task

Abstract

Casino venues are often characterized by “warm” colors, reward-related sounds, and the presence of others. These factors have always been identified as a key factor in energizing gambling. However, few empirical studies have examined their impact on gambling behaviors. Here, we aimed to explore the impact of combined red light and casino-related sounds, with or without the presence of another participant, on gambling-related behaviors. Gambling behavior was estimated with the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT). Eighty non-gamblers participants took part in one of four experimental conditions (20 participants in each condition); (1) IGT without casino-related sound and under normal (white) light (control), (2) IGT with combined casino-related sound and red light (casino alone), (3) IGT with combined casino-related sound, red light and in front of another participant (casino competition—implicit), and (4) IGT with combined casino-related sound, red light and against another participant (casino competition—explicit). Results showed that, in contrast to the control condition, participants in the three “casino” conditions did not exhibit slower deck selection reaction time after losses than after rewards. Moreover, participants in the two “competition” conditions displayed lowered deck selection reaction time after losses and rewards, as compared with the control and the “casino alone” conditions. These findings suggest that casino environment may diminish the time used for reflecting and thinking before acting after losses. These findings are discussed along with the methodological limitations, potential directions for future studies, as well as implications to enhance prevention strategies of abnormal gambling.

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