Sound in Slot Player Psychology

Study reveals the interesting influence of noise while gambling. Researchers  have published a paper in the Journal of Gambling Studies that throws interesting light on the psychological influences of sounds in slot machine action. The study finds that slot players like noisy machines – it reinforces the rewarding feeling after a win.

Researcher Mike Dixon reports that winning sounds on slot machines make gambling more exciting, and can cause players to overestimate the number of times they won while playing on slot machines. Today's slot machines average about 423 sound effects, Dixon and his colleagues found. This is true for Online Slot Machines as well as land based ones like The Walking Dead Slot.

Modern slot machines allow players to wager on multiple lines, and when they spin and lose, the machine goes quiet. But when they spin and win more than their wager, a celebratory sound effect is usually delivered.

Interestingly, when the player spins and wins back less than their wager, he or she still gets the celebratory sound effects despite the fact that overall money has been lost on these spins, which Dixon describes as ‘losses disguised as wins.’

Researchers measured gamblers' physiological responses to various slot machine game outcomes – wins, losses and losses disguised as wins – with and without sound during play, and reported that during slot action, palms may sweat increasing skin conductivity – a measure of arousal.

The 96-gambler sample group played two sessions. In one session, both wins on the slot machines and ‘losses disguised as wins' were accompanied by rolling sounds and celebratory winning jingles, as well as visual feedback.

In a second session, the sounds on the slot were turned off and players only received visual feedback. Player physiological signs were monitored on the various outcomes.

Once play had ended, the slot gamblers were asked which session they preferred and why. They also estimated how many spins they had enjoyed in which they won back more than they wagered.

The results showed that sound has a definite influence; with physiological responses significantly greater in the session with sound than in the session without sound.

Researchers also found that players rated the noisy session as more exciting than the quiet session. The majority of slot players preferred the playing session where wins were accompanied by sounds, suggesting that sounds make playing more exciting, and players enjoy this extra layer of excitement.

Sound also impacted the number of wins players thought they had achieved, with over-estimation clearly influenced to a greater extent by sound. 24 percent of players overestimated their wins if sound was deployed, whereas an overestimation of only 15 percent was recorded on those playing without sound.

Dixon and his colleagues conclude: “Although sounds may have contributed to players' enjoyment of the game, sound may also lead to an overestimation of winning. Both of these effects may contribute to gambling problems, such as mis-beliefs about the true chances of winning, and persistence that some players experience when playing slot machines.”

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