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Slot machine : How Sounds and Pictures Increase the Appeal of the Game



The sights and sounds of winning a slot machine can increase your desire to gamble, according to new research from scientists at the University of Alberta. The study, led by Professor Marcia Spetch of the Department of Psychology, shows that people prefer to play virtual slots that provide physical casino-related clues such as the sound of falling coins or dollar sign symbols.

“These results show how cues associated with money or payouts can make slot machines more attractive and can even make bigger wins more memorable,” said Spetch. “Such clues are prevalent in online casinos and are likely to increase the attractiveness of slot games.”.

The researchers also found that people preferred to play machines with these signals, regardless of the machine’s risk level and regardless of when the sound or visual effects appeared. “The attraction to slot machines and the memory of winning can be influenced by factors other than the amount of money won on a slot machine,” explained Christopher Madan, co-author of the University of Nottingham in the UK and a former PhD student at Spetch.

“People need to be aware that their attraction and their sense of winning can be biased.” According to the Canadian Gaming Association, 98% of Canadians gamble for fun and entertainment. Alberta is home to 28 casinos and over 14,000 slot machines. In 2019, revenues generated by the Alberta gambling industry were $ 2.7 billion.

This research was conducted in collaboration with Elliot Ludvig of the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom and with Yang Liu, postdoctoral fellow in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Department of Psychiatry, University of Alberta. Funding for this research is provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Alberta Gambling Research Institute (AGRI).

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