About Gambling

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Sociology ・APA ・1 Sources

Gambling machines are meant to attract and then maintain the attention of players by appealing to their wants through a variety of ways. The study article "The Impact of Sound in Modern Multiline Video Slot Machine Play" by Dixon, Harrigan, Santesso, Graydon, Fugelsang, and Collins, which appeared in the thirty-first edition of the Journal of Gambling Studies in July of 2014, is cited in this work.
The primary goals of the original research papers include the investigation of the elements that create distinct and observable physiological impacts on slot machine players depending on whether such players have lost or won. The research aims to explore the role that sound plays in the contributing to the psychophysical responses that individuals have while playing the slot machines. In the original research study, the conductance responses and heart rates of the individual players of slot machines as well as the subjective judgment of the experience of gambling are investigated in a bid to establish the physiological and psychological responses of participants. Further, the research study also seeks to find out how the sounds that accompany the results of playing slot machines influence the preferences of players and the perceptions that such players have of the outcomes of playing the said slot machines as well as their experiences and behaviors. The study also sets out to link the ambience of the casino (including the visual design, the loud sounds and the flashing lights) with the attendant behavior and perception of slot machine players in so far as gambling is concerned. In the study, the different effect of sound on recreational or problem gamblers is also studied.

Design of the Original Research Article

To establish the role that sound plays in influencing the behavior of slot machine players, the original research article recruited a total of 96 slot machine players; a minority of whom were recruited online and a majority of whom were conscripted from the entrance of a slot machine venue. After dividing the participants according to the severity of their gambling problem, the research article then eliminated those with problems ranging from gambling issues to medications and even heart diseases/abnormality before embarking on the study proper, by dividing the players into two groups (one playing with sound, the other without). Physiological measurements were used to observe the changes in the heart rates as well as skin conductance levels of the participants in a bid to determine the effect of sound on the behavior of the players. The research study also used self-report measures to be able to determine the different gambling levels of the participants. Each participant was also required to give an informed consent to the researchers, upon reading an information summary, before being provided an opportunity to win actual money or lose real money.

In order to examine the variables herein, the research study was carried out in a laboratory setting rather than in an actual casino where the reactions of the participants would have been “more natural” and hence yielded better results. This may have impacted the outcome of the study. Similarly, the research study also used a simulator rather than an actual slot machine in examining the effects of sound on the behavior of players; a factor that may also have impacted the reactions of the players involved in the study. While the simulator allowed the researchers to manipulate several aspects of the research study, it may have brought about certain unintended consequences upon the study by bringing about unintended consequences.

Findings of the Original Research Article

According to the results of the research study by Dixon, Harrigan, Santesso, Graydon, Fugelsang & Collins (2014), by measuring the skin conductance and subjective arousal among players of slot machine, evidence is found of sound affecting the overall arousal levels of players. In essence, the research study establishes that the use of winning sounds (even in instances where the player may have actually lost money) makes the game more interesting and increases the likelihood of participation by the slot machine players. Effectively therefore, the majority of individuals tested in the research study showed a preference for sessions accompanied by sounds as they deemed such pleasurable and arousing. In investigating the heart rates of individual players, the research study established that heart rate deceleration is not sensitive to the presence or absence of sound but rather to the outcomes of winning and losing. From the study, it is also possible to determine that casino ambience influences, to a great deal, the likelihood of individual players to play slot machines again; effectively proving that the use of winning sounds in slot machines is likely to increase the likelihood of repeat participation in non-habitual gamblers. Additionally, the research study also indicates that the use of sounds in slot machines can lead to miscategorization of wins and losses, with players more likely to categorize actual losses as wins due to the accompanying music and visual signs. Still on the effect of sounds in the playing of slot machines, the research study establishes that the overestimation effect is more likely to be present in instances where there is sound accompanying the playing of slot machines.

Impact of the Research Article on Treatment, Gambling Theory & Public Policy

Going by the findings of the research study, sound greatly impacts the likelihood of repeat participation in gambling and slot machine games. In this manner, therefore, gaming establishments and casinos should, in propagating gambling theory make use of this research study and its findings to increase the number of players within their establishments. Such businesses should incorporate both sound and visual stimuli to increase the excitement of players of slot machines. By using winning sounds, background noise and music, it is likely that gambling establishments and casinos would increase the likelihood of players repeat playing their slot machines even where such player loses rather than wins. Gambling theory could also make use of this research study, especially in so far as the finding that sounds may lead to miscategorization of loses as wins (especially in multiline slot games), and therefore advance such knowledge to stakeholders in the gaming and gambling sectors.

Further, gambling theory could also look into the use of multiple sounds in helping improve the attractiveness of an establishment to players. As noted in the research, such use of multiple sounds helps arouse excitement in players and predisposes them to imaginations of winning even when they have actually lost, a phenomenon that the research article refers to as miscategorization. As the research study notes, most players prefer to play slot machines with the sound on, as such machines are deemed to be more desirable due to the winning sounds. Combination of several sounds would even produce better results in terms of repeat play by individuals.

Accuracy & Objectivity of the Media Coverage

On media coverage, the newspaper article that focused on the study notes that casinos are designed in a manner that the noises made by slot machines can fool the brain into thinking that one has won even when they have lost. To this extent, the coverage is accurate especially in the sense that it illuminates the concept of miscategorization that the authors of the research so point out. This is further depicted in the newspaper article where the article notes that players tend to overestimate the number of times they win especially when jubilant sounds are played while one indulges in the slot machine. Jubilant sound effects, the newspaper article points out, are tied to wins and even partial losses and can therefore skew the perception of the player and subsequently act to positively reinforce the player, leading to repeat participation in slot machine games even as loss of money persists. This position is an excerpt from the research study and basically summarizes and echoes what the study advances. The article also notes that multiline slot machines may be so complicated that players may not know whether they have won or lost until the machine tells them; a fact that seems to be admitted in the research article.

Dixon, Harrigan, Santesso, Graydon, Fugelsang & Collins (2014) establish that in multiline slot machines, players know of their win or loss through the highlighting of the symbols by a colored line.


Dixon, J. M., Harrigan, K. A., Santesso, D. L., Graydon, C., Fugelsang, J. A., & Collins, K. (2014). The Impact of Sound in Modern Multiline Video Slot Machine Play. Journal of Gambling Studies, 30, 913 – 929.

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