Gambling: The Science Behind the Fun

It should be clear to most why entertainment is a necessary thing for humans. In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that it is the cornerstone of human existence – if we don’t pursue enjoyment, then there is no doubt that our quality of life would be far worse. However, it is the existence of things such as films, music, gaming, and gambling that make us happy. Of course, these things are also needed to break up the monotony of life that is common for those who work a 9-5 job.

When it comes to pure enjoyment, it is hard to think of a better example than gambling. This is an activity that is enjoyed all over the world and once the goal of it is understood, it is no wonder why it is so popular. People simply love the idea of winning money, especially in societies where cash is king. This is why many players enjoy playing at the best real money online slots as there is always the chance to win a small amount, or even a life-changing amount of money. As most will know, gamblers will lose a lot, but people still continue to play. This might confuse some, but the science behind gambling might reveal some interesting information.

When gambling, although people engage in the activity to win money, this is not the sole motivator for everyone. Mark Griffiths is a psychologist at Nottingham Trent University, who pointed out a wide range of motivations for gambling. In a survey that had 5500 respondents, the most common motivator was certainly “to win big money”. However, following closely behind were the responses “because it’s fun” and “because it’s exciting”. This would indicate that some people do not mind losing money – for them, the process is more exciting than the reward. Griffiths backs this notion up by saying “Even when you’re losing while you’re gambling, your body is still producing adrenalin and endorphins”.

A 2009 study completed by the University of Stanford also agrees with this claim as it found that 92% of people had ‘loss thresholds’. This gives a name to what many people might have intrinsically practised as it refers to an amount of money lost that players will simply not go over, even stopping play if need be. Despite this, the study also concluded that even when players receive a net loss during a gambling session, this does not necessarily mean that their enjoyment of the experience was impacted.

Another study was conducted by University College which also led to some interesting results. After presenting 26 subjects with a series of selections related to gambling and scanning their brain waves after each response, the neuroscience team were able to conclude that lower expectations of winning leads to more enjoyment when a win does eventually occur. They were able to conclude this after observing increasing activity in the area of the brain that is associated with dopamine.

Taking these findings into account, it is clear to see that people gamble for different reasons, but the common factor is that they always receive enjoyment from the activity. Given that gambling involves money, this is why people must take extra caution to avoid problem gambling, which can have dire consequences if left unchecked.

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