In a new report published by German researchers suggest that habitual gamblers see shapes or patterns, in random behaviour. Furthermore, seeing these patterns, combined with a lack of control results in compulsive behaviours. The research showed that people who habitually gamble our more willing to impulsively bet on, what they perceived to be a logical pattern of events, which are in fact random, compared to those who don’t gamble at all.
As humans we try to make sense of illogical and random patterns, as a way of making sense of our world. However, it is thought that gamblers see these random patterns in a more defined way than non-gamblers.
For instance, if one is gambling on a roulette wheel a gambler will see that Black has come up five times so therefore red is due any moment now, and thus bet on red. It is this perception of knowing that you may be right that can set up unhelpful behaviours.
Research participants consisting of 91 habitual gamblers and 70 non-gamblers, were shown a picture of a casino and two gaming machines. Over the period of time, the participants were asked to predict the outcome probability as to which machine was going to pay out next. In fact, the research showed that over time, the participants were effected by a false sense of probability and that they somehow could “predict the outcome. What is striking, is that the gamblers had a higher rate of probability matching.
The research also showed that gamblers a lot more likely to feel that they could perceive random behaviours.
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