Behavioral Approaches to Gambling

Description of the Strategy

Strategies for treating gambling were derived from behavioral and cognitive models accounting for the development of what is commonly termed problem, compulsive, or pathological gambling. As gambling on poker machines or racing can result on occasion in immediate or briefly delayed winnings, behaviorists considered that much intermittent reinforcement maintained the behavior, despite its long-term negative consequences. Intermittent reinforcement is established to significantly retard extinction of a conditioned response, compared with invariable reinforcement. As it was considered that gambling is maintained by conditioning, it was suggested that it could also be inhibited by a procedure considered to act by conditioning: aversion therapy. The aversive stimuli usually employed were electric shocks. They were delivered at random to an electrode on the ...

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