Near miss outcomes in gambling games


Games of chance operate with an intermittent reinforcement schedule in which the number of games takes the player to win differ in each turn thus they can not predict when the next positive reinforcement arrives. The near miss outcome (close to winning but actually a losing outcome) can be interpreted as a secondary (built in) reinforcement within variable ratio reinforcement schedule that presumably contribute to the development and maintenance of gambling addiction.

The aim of this publication would be to introduce near miss outcomes and to summarize and critically analyze literature connected to this issue.We searched internet databases using word "near miss" and analyse articles focusing on gambling games.

Based on numerous authors' results a near miss rate set at around 30% increases the desire to continue playing among gamblers and players who have no former gambling experience as well.

Some studies have demonstrated that this effect might be related to the extent the player has the situation under control during the gambling session. The hypothetical inhibiting effect of a 45% near miss ratio has not yet been proven. Neurobiological researches show middle-cerebral activity during near miss outcomes furthermore similar physiological patterns have been discovered following a near miss and winning outcomes. Regarding the connection between intrapsychic variables (cognitive and personality factors) and near misses there are very few studies. The fact that different authors interpret near miss outcomes differently even when studying the same game leads to problems in interpreting their results. It follows from the foregoing empirical results that near miss outcomes contribute to the development and maintanance of pathological gambling but we have little information on the factors implementing this effect.

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