July 09, 2020   3:08pm

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Why losing makes you gamble more

Here’s a reason to stay away from Las Vegas. According to a study in Science News, “it seems gambling has somehow hijacked the brain’s reward system.” According to the study, losing (rather than winning) stimulates areas in the brain’s reward circuitry that cause the same release of dopamine one experiences when they do win, eat chocolate or take drugs like cocaine.

Co-author of the study Luke Clark, of the University of Cambridge in England conducted the experiments to explore why people who continue to lose, continue to gamble.

“Subjects reported near-misses as highly unpleasant experiences, but also that the near-misses made them want to gamble more. Interestingly, this effect was stronger when players thought they were able to control the gambling game by choosing which icons appeared in the reel. When the computer chose the icons, the effect diminished, highlighting the importance of feelings of control,” the article reads.

“Being rewarded for almost winning is likely useful in some situations, Clark says. For some tasks, such as learning to kick a soccer ball into a goal or firing an arrow at a target, near-misses are informative. ‘You’re acquiring the skill, and the brain should pay attention to near-misses,’ Clark says.”

“But in gambling, almost winning has no effect on the next pull of the lever or roll of the dice. ‘Games of chance tell you nothing about future success,’ he says. So it seems gambling has somehow hijacked the brain’s reward system. The finding could help in understanding brain pathways that lead to gambling addiction.

See the whole article from Science News here

At least now you’ll be aware why those slot machines are seducing you. I wonder if this applies to the stock market?

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