Arousal, erroneous verbalisations, and the illusion of control during a computer-generated gambling task

Kenny R. Coventry, Anna C. Norman

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47 Citations (Scopus)


Arousal theories and cognitive theories have been proposed as explanations for both low- and high-frequency gambling. Fifty-four participants were presented with a computer-based gambling task in order to examine the relationship between arousal, erroneous verbalizations and the illusion of control. Participants either won mainly at the start, at the end or randomly throughout the task. Predictions of long- and short-term future success were elicited together with arousal levels and verbalizations throughout the task. The results provide support for the importance of the illusion of control applied to gambling tasks, although these effects only occurred with long-term forecasts. No significant relationships between types of verbalizations and arousal were found, although the task was significantly arousing. Furthermore, no relationships between illusion of control measures and either arousal levels or types of verbalizations were found. Additionally, no differences on any measures were found comparing gambling participants who chase and gamble versus those who do not gamble and/or do not chase. These results are discussed in relation to the explanation of both low- and high-frequency gambling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-645
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1998

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