chapter  15
16 Pages

:When loss rewards: The near-miss effect in slot-machine gambling

ByGordon R. Foxall, Valdimar Sigurdsson

It is well established that slot-machine gamblers whose scores closely resemble a winning combination (but which objectively are losses) often seem encouraged thereby to continue playing (Côté et al., 2003; Griffiths, 1994; Reid, 1986; Skinner, 1953). Attempts to explain this “nearmiss effect” often implicate neural functioning (e.g., Qi et al., 2011). After all, the same brain regions are recruited in the case of near-misses as are apparent for wins (notably the reward circuits of the midbrain dopaminergic system and the orbitofrontal cortex of the forebrain which they innervate), while losing activates separate neural areas (Chase & Clark, 2010; Habib & Dixon, 2010). This is consistent with a corpus of research findings indicating that pathological gambling (PG) recruits similar neuronal systems as substance addiction.