The psychology of music in gambling environments: An observational research note


  • Mark Griffiths
  • Jonathan Parke



gambling, gambling environments, music, situational characteristics


Effects of the listening context on responses to music largely have been neglected despite the prevalence of music in our everyday lives. Furthermore, there has been no research on the role of music in gambling environments (e.g., casinos, amusement arcades) despite gambling's increased popularity as a leisure pursuit. An exploratory observational study in gambling arcades was carried out to investigate (i) how music is used as background music in amusement arcades, and (ii) how slot machines utilize music in their design. Results indicated that arcades often have music that caters for their customer demographics and that this may influence gambling behaviour. Furthermore, music from the slot machine itself appears to produce important impression formations about the machine (i.e., quality of the machine, familiarity, distinctiveness, and the sound of winning). It is suggested that music (whether it is in the gambling environment or in the activity itself) has the potential to be important in the acquisition, development, and maintenance of gambling behaviour. Some preliminary ideas and hypotheses to be tested are offered.






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