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Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Eve H. Limbrick-Oldfield, Mariya V. Cherkasova, Dawn Kennedy, Caylee-Britt Goshko, Dale Griffin, Jason J.S. Barton, and Luke Clark

Abstract

Background and aims

Individuals with gambling disorder display increased levels of risk-taking, but it is not known if it is associated with an altered subjective valuation of gains and/or losses, perception of their probabilities, or integration of these sources of information into expected value.

Methods

Participants with gambling disorder (n = 48) were compared with a healthy comparison group (n = 35) on a two-choice lottery task that involved either gains-only or losses-only gambles. On each trial, two lotteries were displayed, showing the associated probability and magnitude of the possible outcome for each. On each trial, participants chose one of the two lotteries, and the outcome was revealed.

Results

Choice behaviour was highly sensitive to the expected value of the two gambles in both the gain and loss domains. This sensitivity to expected value was attenuated in the group with gambling disorder. The group with gambling disorder used both probability and magnitude information less, and this impairment was greater for probability information. By contrast, they used prior feedback (win vs loss) to inform their next choice, despite the independence of each trial. Within the gambling disorder group, problem gambling severity and trait gambling-related cognitions independently predicted reduced sensitivity to expected value. The majority of observed effects were consistent across both gain and loss domains.

Discussion and Conclusions

Our results provide a thorough characterization of decision processes in gain and loss domains in gambling disorder, and place these problems in the context of theoretical constructs from behavioural economics.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Eve H. Limbrick-Oldfield, Mariya V. Cherkasova, Dawn Kennedy, Caylee-Britt Goshko, Dale Griffin, Jason J.S. Barton, and Luke Clark

Abstract

Background and aims

Individuals with gambling disorder display increased levels of risk-taking, but it is not known if it is associated with an altered subjective valuation of gains and/or losses, perception of their probabilities, or integration of these sources of information into expected value.

Methods

Participants with gambling disorder (n = 48) were compared with a healthy comparison group (n = 35) on a two-choice lottery task that involved either gains-only or losses-only gambles. On each trial, two lotteries were displayed, showing the associated probability and magnitude of the possible outcome for each. On each trial, participants chose one of the two lotteries, and the outcome was revealed.

Results

Choice behaviour was highly sensitive to the expected value of the two gambles in both the gain and loss domains. This sensitivity to expected value was attenuated in the group with gambling disorder. The group with gambling disorder used both probability and magnitude information less, and this impairment was greater for probability information. By contrast, they used prior feedback (win vs loss) to inform their next choice, despite the independence of each trial. Within the gambling disorder group, problem gambling severity and trait gambling-related cognitions independently predicted reduced sensitivity to expected value. The majority of observed effects were consistent across both gain and loss domains.

Discussion and Conclusions

Our results provide a thorough characterization of decision processes in gain and loss domains in gambling disorder, and place these problems in the context of theoretical constructs from behavioural economics.

Open access