Imagine a casino at nighttime, brightly lit, crowded with people from all backgrounds. Upbeat music plays along with the bells and whistles, but no one appears to detect it as they are focused on their very own personal game of chance.
Why do people get hooked on slot machines? New scientific research published in April 2019 gives a potential answer, and it has absolutely nothing to do with money. One reason is feeling part of a group while maintaining individuality. The UK casino market is huge as many players enjoy the social facet of sitting in a poker or craps table where they may meet other like-minded people and players and the capability to win money is just one of the perks.
Others, however, may truly think they are going to hit the jackpot and get addicted to that feeling of anticipation. Others aren’t concentrated on money, but enhancing their mood. Another potential reason is the alluring way that slots are presented by casinos makes people forget time. Slot machines are usually displayed as brilliant, bright objects. They feature innovative, stylish themes, bright colours, and flashing lights; online slot games do present themselves well, but without the physical machinery, it is harder to entice players.
The latest research by Mike J. Dixon et al., looks at those people who are prone to be lured by this combination of sights and sounds. The researchers posit that slot machine play is a kind of instant entertainment. Unlike lotteries, slot machine payoffs are instant, frequently accompanied by attention-grabbing music and high-tech animations.
Dixon et al. describe the phenomenon of becoming completely engrossed in playing slots, forgetting everything else in their life, as a state called “negative flow”, which can be predicted by the combined effect of depressive tendencies and this enhanced state of mind when playing casino slots.
Additionally, the results of each slot play session are by their nature unforeseen, because of what the authors refer to as a variable (intermittent) ratio reinforcement schedule.
They concentrated on players that entered the “entranced zone”, a state of absorption through which the game dominates their awareness, causing the time to pass without them realising, a state that many players find exceptionally pleasurable.
While the concept of “flow” is also known in positive psychology, the slot machine induced flow frequently leads to unwanted implications, with regards to time management and financial loss. This is especially for individuals reporting significant signs of depression in everyday life, the “negative flow” generated has been predicted by the combined effect of melancholy and escapism.
The researchers suggest that there are several alternative methods that are healthier than chasing slots to forget problems, for example, to improve your mood you can spend time with friends and family. Slots and casinos are fun in small quantities, but not if you have issues you are trying to avoid by playing money instead.