Post-print of: Haw, J 2008, ‘The relationship between reinforcement and gaming machine choice’, Journal of Gambling Studies, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 55-61.
The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10899-007-9073-5
The present study assessed whether prior reinforcement experiences were related to gaming machine choice and the decision to change gaming machines during a session of gambling. Seventy undergraduate students (48 women, 22 men; mean age = 22.05 years) were presented with two visually identical simulated gaming machines in a practice phase. These simulated machines differed only in the rate of reinforcement. After the practice phase, participants were asked to choose a machine to play in the test phase and were allowed to change machines at will. Two measures of reinforcement were employed; frequency of wins and payback rate. Results indicated that neither measure of reinforcement was related to machine choice, but both were predictors of when participants changed machines. A post-hoc analysis of the 33 participants who changed machines during the test phase found a significant relationship between machine choice and prior reinforcement. For these participants, payback rate was significantly related to machine choice, unlike frequency of wins.