What processes occur in the brain of a gambling person during the game? Where do physical reactions occur?? What is the reaction to victories and failures, and how significant is the difference between them? BBC Panorama tried to find answers to these questions in an experiment that led to very unexpected results.
A participant in the experiment was Tony Franklin, a man with many years of gambling experience, whose interaction with gambling resulted in a very harmful influence.
Professor David Nutt, who specializes in gambling addiction, was asleep as the head of the experiment. The scientist speaks of gambling addiction as a mental disorder in which gambling operators raise fortunes. From his words. addiction to gambling is fraught with brain changes, which makes it very difficult to give up this habit.
At the beginning of the experiment, Tony Franklin was playing online roulette while in the tomograph. Subject had £ 1,000 on his balance sheet, and there were no restrictions on the size of the bets.
The purpose of the experiment is to track activities in specific areas of the brain. The head of the experiment set the task to track the reactions (presumably chemical), due to which a person loses control in the process of choosing actions and bets in the game and cannot stop. It was expected to trace the increased activation of the brain regions responsible for habits, given the addiction to play in the subject.
These were Tony’s reactions to different stages of the game:
- The process of placing a bet is accompanied by complete peace of mind. Subject is not agitated and follows the usual algorithm – choose what to bet on.
- Launching a ball into a roulette wheel is marked by a strong surge in brain activity. Vision is especially activated: the eyes strain in anticipation of seeing the ball stop at the same sector. There is also a strong emotional outburst: Tony experiences excitement.
- The gain in this case does not significantly change the picture – all the same parts of the brain that were activated earlier remain active; only a small fraction of satisfaction is added to them. However, the subject’s state is far from being happy: he is waiting for the continuation.
- During the subsequent rounds of the game, the reactions and their sequence remained the same.
Professor Nutt, who watched Tony, came to the conclusion that the expectation of the result, the anticipation of winning and the win itself are equivalent in terms of the power of influence in the brain. This is the essence of the phenomenon of gambling: pleasure does not bring a win, but a stable interaction with the game, even if it does not bring victories. Participation in the process brings no less effect than a successful outcome.
What is the long-term prospect of exposure to such effects fraught with?? The professor warns: during the game, the human brain is exposed to such emotional outbursts every 20 seconds. This frequency is favorable for the development of the habit, where the addiction comes from.
Whether the subject achieved his goal of coping with the addiction – not disclosed. In any case, this is not a matter of one day.
Any gambling establishment emphasizes that the game is entertainment, and it is bad if it goes beyond. Casino users who experience adverse symptoms are advised to use the Responsible Gaming program – limit bets, freeze or block an account on their own, consult with specialists.