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Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Elodie Hurel
Marie Grall-Bronnec
Elsa Thiabaud
Juliette Leboucher
Maxime Leroy
Bastien Perrot
, and
Gaëlle Challet-Bouju


Background and aims

This research aimed to characterize social information processing abilities in a population of regular nondisordered poker players compared to controls.


Participants completed the Posner cueing paradigm task including social cues (faces) to assess attention allocation towards social stimuli, including the effect of the presentation time (subliminal vs supraliminal) and of the emotion displayed. The study included two groups of participants: 30 regular nondisordered poker players (those who played at least three times a week in Texas Hold'em poker games for at least three months) and 30 control participants (those who did not gamble or gambled less than once a month, whatever the game).


The group of regular nondisordered poker players displayed an enhancement of the inhibition of return during the Posner cueing task. This means that in valid trials, they took longer to respond to the already processed localization in supraliminal conditions compared to controls. However, our results did not evidence any particular engagement or disengagement attention abilities toward specific types of emotion.

Discussion and Conclusions

These results suggest that regular nondisordered poker players displayed social information processing abilities, which may be due to the importance to efficiently process social information that can serve as tells in live poker. The observed enhancement of the inhibition of return may permit poker players to not process a localization that has already processed to save attentional resources. Further research regarding the establishment of the IOR in other forms of gambling and with non-social cues needs to be performed.

Open access