Scratch Card Game Type Impacts Psychophysiological Reactivity, but Not Subjective Evaluations of Experienced Outcomes
Keywords:scratch cards, psychophysiology, lottery, motivation, arousal
Although many types of scratch cards exist, research on gamblers’ physiological responses to scratch card wins, losses, and near misses has been limited to a single type of game. We created two distinct scratch card types. In a “Match Three” game, we expected arousal to rise with each successive matching symbol—hence arousal would change even before the final outcome was known. In a “Number Matching” game, where players were given a set of lucky numbers and hoped to find a match within a scratch-off play area, we expected arousal to rise only once a match was made. A near miss in a Match Three game involved uncovering two large-prize symbols (but not the third). A near miss in a Number Matching game involved just missing a match (lucky number 18, uncovering a 17). For each game type, participants played four cards (small win, near miss, and two losses) while their physiological arousal was recorded. Participants rated each outcome on a number of subjective measures. For wins, arousal changes occurred as predicted (pre-outcome changes for Match Three vs. only post-outcome changes for Number Matching games). Participants rated near-miss outcomes in both card types as being more subjectively arousing, disappointing, negative, frustrating, and urge inducing than for regular losses, but we found no strong evidence for physiological near-miss effects. We provide evidence that the structure of scratch card games influences the timing of individuals’ physiological responses to various outcomes.
Bien qu’il existe de nombreux modèles de cartes à gratter, les recherches menées jusqu’ici sur les réactions physiologiques des joueurs face à un gain, une perte ou un quasi-gain se limitent à un seul type de jeu. Nous avons conçu deux jeux de cartes à gratter distincts. Le premier était un jeu « à trois correspondances »; nous nous attendions à ce que le degré d’excitation monte à chaque apparition d’un symbole identique - et ce, avant même que le résultat final soit connu. Le second jeu consistait à donner aux joueurs un jeu de chiffres chanceux avec instruction de dévoiler un chiffre correspondant dans la partie à gratter de la carte; nous nous attendions à ce que l’excitation monte seulement après le dévoilement d’une correspondance. Dans le premier jeu, un quasi-gain consistait en la découverte de deux symboles représentant un lot important (mais pas du troisième). Dans le second jeu, un quasi-gain consistait en l’obtention d’un nombre très proche du chiffre gagnant (obtention d’un 17 alors que le gagnant est le 18). Les participants ont été invités à gratter quatre cartes par jeu (un petit gain, un quasi-gain et deux pertes) tandis qu’on enregistrait leurs réactions physiologiques, puis à donner une évaluation subjective de chaque résultat. Les réactions anticipées se sont produites dans le cas des gains (soit avant le dévoilement du résultat dans le premier jeu et seulement après dans le second). Peu importe le type de carte, les sujets ont qualifié le quasi-gain, comparativement aux pertes régulières, d’expérience excitante, décevante, négative, frustrante et propre à attiser le désir de jouer, mais nous n’avons recueilli aucune preuve de réaction physiologique dans ce cas précis. Selon nos conclusions, la structure des jeux de cartes à gratter a une incidence sur le moment de la réaction physiologique aux différents résultats de jeu.
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