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Consequences of Winning: The Role of Gambling Outcomes in the Development of Irrational Beliefs

  • Sally Monaghan (a1), Alex Blaszczynski (a1) and Lia Nower (a2)

Background: The development and maintenance of gambling and problem gambling with its corresponding irrational beliefs may be fundamentally linked to patterns of wins and losses during electronic gaming machine (EGM) play. Method: The current study investigated the extent to which irrational thoughts and erroneous perceptions of chance differed based on individual wins or losses. Undergraduate students (n = 45) completed questionnaires assessing irrational beliefs and perceptions of chance prior to and following EGM play with credits rather than money. Results: It was found that players who lost reported a significantly greater decrease in irrational thoughts and erroneous perceptions of chance and significantly fewer superstitious beliefs than winning players following play. Conclusions: Future studies are needed to further investigate the relationship of winning to cognitive distortions to guide education and interventions.

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Reprint requests to Sally Monaghan, School of Psychology, University of Sydney, Brennan MacCallum Building (A18), Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia. E-mail:
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Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy
  • ISSN: 1352-4658
  • EISSN: 1469-1833
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioural-and-cognitive-psychotherapy
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