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Psychological explanations of gambling habit

Psychological explanations of gambling habit

Have you ever wondered why people keep gambling even though they have lost many times? Well, this is actually because they are already addicted to gambling. Addiction is something serious. It is not something that you can cure just in one day. Many people did not know that gambling addiction is a type of mental health. 

Gambling addiction has something to do with your mind. Problem (or ‘pathological’) gambling is a recognized psychiatric diagnosis that occurs in about 1 percent of people. Such prevalence rates are higher in local areas surrounding gambling facilities. Here are the psychological explanations of gambling habits.

  1. Against the odds

Gambling is a somewhat paradoxical activity at its core as ‘the house always wins’ is commonly recognized. If you’re playing on fruit machines, horse racing, blackjack or roulette, the odds would have been carefully set to ensure the casino or bookmaker has a steady profit. Nowadays, there are lots of online betting malaysia that is one of the reasons that made a gambling addiction is even difficult to leave. Check over here at best online betting in malaysia.

 The only way to do this is to make a steady loss for the gambler. So why do gamblers, and particularly problem gamblers, keep playing when the overwhelming probability is that they’ll lose money?

In the Department of Experimental Psychology, Dr Luke Clark is interested in the various ways gamblers overestimate their odds of winning, including the consequences of near-misses and personal preference. Such features of gambling games foster a ‘control illusion’: the assumption that the gambler can exercise ability over an outcome which is determined by chance in reality.

Most gamblers strongly believe they can devise a win-win scheme at gambling. This includes attempting to predict patterns in random numbers , selecting “hot” slot machines and avoiding “cold” ones (e.g. continuing to play a machine because it’s “hot;” playing a machine that hasn’t paid off in a long time, thinking it’s “due”), or performing some ritualistic behavior in order to be able to keep winning.

  1. Hallmarks of addiction

Both near-misses and personal preference lead to gamblers playing for longer and making bigger bets. Over time, these skewed expectations of one’s chances of winning will precipitate ‘loss chasing,’ where gamblers keep playing in an attempt to recover accrued debts. Loss chasing is one of the hallmarks of problem gambling, which in turn bears a lot of similarities to opioid abuse.

Among an array of psychological causes, problem gambling may have several significant biological determinants as well. Brain chemical dopamine plays a key role in drug addiction, and may also be abnormally regulated in problem gambling. Neurochirurgical patients often show changes in their judgment and risk-taking, following damage to the orbitofrontal region. After having a tumor removed from its orbitofrontal cortex, one patient, examined at the University of Iowa, made a series of disastrous decisions involving extravagant business ventures and doubtful personal relations.

Dr. Clark is testing betting activity in a group of related patients with harm in this area using a basic gambling test in a joint study with Dr. Antoine Bechara at the University of Southern California. More subtle chemical imbalances may accompany the transition from normal gambling to problem gambling in this brain region.

  1. Changing views on winning

In a clever study, bettors from the racetrack were asked to estimate the odds their favorite horse would win, both before and after betting on the horse. Upon making their bets, gamblers appeared to believe their horse had a better chance of winning than they had before betting. We were made more optimistic by the increased involvement.

  1. Gambler’s fallacy

This is when we believe it is possible to predict the outcome of a chance event past on past events. If I flip a coin nine times, and each time it comes up heads, there is always a fifty / fifty chance that the tenth time it will be tails. The fallacy of the gambler leads one to expect heads even though the odds against this possibility are true.

When a person starts to think with the fallacy of the gambler they are led to take seriously flawed decisions. For example, the gambling addict, or compulsive gambler, will become convinced even after losing money for an extended period of time that they are due to win, simply because they have lost. Such thinking does not square with reality and is extremely destructive.

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Author

Timmothy Arnold