Effects of mental imagery on gambling behavior

Abstract

The influence of a brief mental imagery task was examined to determine if imagining engaging in gambling behaviors would satiate the participant on gambling-related reinforcers and subsequently reduce gambling behavior. Thirty-one participants underwent a mental imagery task consisting of either imagining gambling on a slot machine 30 times and placing quarters into a laundry machine 3 times, or imagining gambling on a slot machine 3 times and placing quarters in a laundry machine 30 times. Following the imagery task, participants were allowed to play a real slot machine and stop whenever they wanted to be finished. The results showed that those who imagined playing the slot machine 30 times before actually gambling played significantly fewer trials than those who imagined playing only 3 times. Clinical implications and future directions are discussed.

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