Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dixon, Mark


Game outcomes are generally thought to be the primary maintaining variables in gambling behavior. The influence of language and other verbal behaviors have been shown to moderate subsequent game play. The purpose of this study is to measure the behavioral sensitivity to changing contingencies when rules are given or self-generated compared to those that are not given rules. To date no study has compared contingency based trial and error learning, externally delivered rules and contextually cued responding when measuring behavioral sensitivity to changing contingencies in the context of roulette. An analysis of such behavior will shed light on the cause and effect relationships that describe gambling. Twenty-eight undergraduate and graduate students were recruited to play a game of simulated roulette with varying probabilities for each game option. Participants were assigned to 3 groups and were either given rules regarding game play, were not given rules or asked to complete a relational training exercise. Results demonstrated varying mean response allocation for each group and game option. Those who were given rules or who completed a relational training procedure demonstrated more flexible responding when confronted with changing contingencies.




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