The effects of casino environment of decision-making.

The effects of casino environment of decision-making.

Throughout life we make many decisions, we make decisions about what to have for breakfast, what television show to watch and what lottery numbers to choose. Whilst we make our decisions we are influenced by the environment around us, even is we are unknowingly influenced. In high-stakes environments such as casinos where high risks can make or break someone casino designers have taken advantage of this knowledge.

When you enter a casino you are often greeted with warm colours, flashing lights that can bring about excitement and sounds that are associated with reward (imagine the sound of a slots machine dispensing coins after a win). To explore the impact of red lights and sounds associated with rewards on decision-making a recent piece of research has sought to develop an understanding of how these factors interact with decision-making. The joint study between American and Dutch universities utilised a popular cognitive task, the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT). The IGT consists of four decks of cards with varying odds of winning or losing fictional currency, the aim of the IGT is to try to gain as much of the fictional currency as possible.

The results of the casino-related study found that when casino-related sounds are played and combined with red lights participants choose decks slower than the controls (the group without lights or sound). These results suggest that the casino environment can diminish the time used for reflecting and thinking before acting after losses. Thus, after losing a large bet the environment of a casino acts in the casinos favour to prevent adequate time for reflecting on the loss.

Source article: Brevers et al, (2015).

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Daniel Edgcumbe

I am studying towards my PhD in cognitive neuroscience at a leading London university

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