Journal Information
Journal ID (publisher-id): jgi
ISSN: 1910-7595
Publisher: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Article Information
Article Categories: In Memoriam
Publication date: December 2016
Publisher Id: jgi.2016.34.13
DOI: 10.4309/jgi.2016.34.13

In memoriam - A Tribute to Dr. Karen Gough (Finlay) by Drs. Sherry Stewart and Sunghwan Yi

Passed away January 24, 2016

Dr. Karen Gough (Finlay) received a PhD in Marketing and Consumer Behavior from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto in 1992. She began her first faculty position that same year at the University of Guelph in the Department of Marketing and Consumer Studies, and remained there throughout her 24-year academic career. Karen’s research interests in environmental psychology and the influence of atmospheric factors on consumption behaviour led her to found an important research program on gambling-related issues.

Karen received seven sizable research grants from the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre, all as principal investigator. She collaborated on these grants with her long-time colleagues Drs. Harvey Marmurek, Vinay Kanetkar, and Jane Londerville. Karen published widely in academic journals on a variety of gambling-related topics, and produced two co-authored papers in the current issue of the Journal of Gambling Issues (i.e., Hudson, Olatunji, Gough, Yi, & Stewart, this issue; Stiles et al., this issue). She was frequently invited to speak at conferences on her gambling research, and did so in such diverse locations as Slovenia, Sweden, Las Vegas, and Nova Scotia.

Karen’s work contributed immensely to our understanding of such environmental effects as the effects of music, ambient casino sounds, and casino décor on problem gambling behavior (e.g., Finlay, Marmurek, Kanetkar, & Londerville, 2010). In later years, she studied these effects, in a startling innovation, through virtual reality technology—specifically, a large Panascope 360 unit. It proved a brilliant breakthrough in gambling research. It allowed for a convincing immersive experience for her participants, yielding in turn meaningful, extensive, and lasting findings. Karen and her colleagues enjoyed great adventures touring around casinos to obtain the 360 degree shots to use as visuals in her Panascope experiments. Her gambling research program also included work on slot machine characteristics and their influence on problem gambling (e.g., Finlay, 2010). Karen studied this topic in her slot machine laboratory, a place where participants could engage in gambling on real world slots (e.g., Noseworthy & Finlay, 2009). Her slot machines lab was one of only a handful of such ecologically-valid gambling research facilities in Canada.

Karen was not only an accomplished researcher but also a passionate instructor. She served as a mentor for a number of graduate students in the Department of Marketing and Consumer Studies at the University of Guelph and as the graduate program coordinator from 2001–06. Karen earned an important award in 1995 for her graduate teaching. She was twice recognized by the University of Guelph through a Distinguished Professor Award, in 2006 and again in 2008. Karen was a warm, engaged, and fun-loving collaborator and mentor, one who will be sorely missed by all her colleagues, students, and friends in the gambling research field.


Finlay, K., Marmurek, H. H. C., Kanetkar, V. & Londerville, J. (2010). Casino décor effects on gambling emotions and intentions. Environment and Behavior, 42, 524-545.

Finlay, K. (2010). Blinded by the light? Hooked on the machine? Storm, 3, 20-22.

Hudson, A., Olatunji, B., Gough, K., Yi, S., & Stewart, S. H. (this issue). Eye on the prize: High-risk gamblers show sustained selective attention to gambling cues. Journal of Gambling Issues.

Noseworthy, T. J. & Finlay, K. (2009). A comparison of ambient casino sound and music: Effects on dissociation and on perceptions of elapsed time while playing slot machines. Journal of Gambling Studies, 25, 331-342.

Stiles, M., Hudson, A., Ramasubbu, C., Ames, S., Yi, S., Gough, K., &

Stewart, S. H. (this issue). The role of memory associations in excessive and problem gambling. Journal of Gambling Issues.

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