Induced mood and persistence at gaming

Abstract

AIMS. Using the affect infusion model (AIM), this study aimed to assess the impact of prior mood on gaming persistence in regular and non-regular gamblers (assumed to be motivated and heuristic decision-makers, respectively). DESIGN, MEASURES AND SETTING. A 2 x 3 experimental design in a laboratory setting employed factors of gambler type (regular, non-regular) and prior mood (happy, neutral, depressed). Measures were number of trials played on a gambling game, and mood ratings (post-mood induction, during and after play). PARTICIPANTS AND INTERVENTION. Sixty regular and 60 non-regular gamblers (all male students) were assigned randomly to watch a video inducing one of the three mood conditions. They were then given AUD$10.00 to gamble in a computerized card-cutting game. FINDINGS. AIM predictions were supported: prior mood did not affect gaming persistence for regular gamblers, but non-regulars showed reduced persistence across happy, neutral and depressed moods. After-play mood ratings were related to winnings for regulars, and losing regulars were significantly more unhappy after-play compared to during-play, and compared to both their winning counterparts and non-regulars. Mood and winnings were unrelated for non-regulars, with little during- to after-play mood change. CONCLUSIONS. The findings speak to depression as a causal factor in addictive gambling. Depressed mood did not enhance persistence in regular gamblers, but rather failed to have the inhibitory effect observed in non-regular gamblers. Evidence of mood changes during gambling was obtained, although multiple measures (self-report, physiological indicators, anticipated states) of both affective valence and arousal are advocated for future studies.

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