Date of Award

8-1-2016

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Rehabilitation

First Advisor

Dixon, Mark

Abstract

Negative expected values typically define the behavior of gambling whereby a person risks more money than probabilistically will be returned. Modern slot machines represent the most popular topography of site gambling, and are thought to encourage irrational gambling behaviors through the presentation of outcome stimuli that occasion the gambler to inaccurately detect the programmed contingencies. One recently added characteristic of modern slot machines is the ability to deliver wins with lower magnitudes of credits than the initially staked wagers. Termed a "loss disguised as a win" (LDW), this type of consequence appears to produce reinforcement effects despite representing an overall loss of credits. In a series of three experiments using computer simulated slot machines, the presentation of LDWs were initially evaluated for possible influence on the temporal characteristics of repeated wagers, subsequently examined to potentially bias response allocation across concurrently available LDW display densities, and finally appraised after discrimination training designed to potentially alter the discriminative and consequential functions of LDWs. Treatment implications and directions for future research are discussed.

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