College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

The Effects of Alcohol, Gender, and Sensation Seeking on the Gambling Choices of Social Drinkers

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-1999

Keywords

Alcohol Intoxication, Gambling, Human Sex Differences, Preferences, Sensation Seeking

Publication Title

Psychology of Addictive Behaviors

ISSN

0893-164X

Volume

13

Issue/No.

3

Abstract

The preference-reversal, or the reflection, effect occurs when the valence of the decision option influences risk preference (A. Tversky and D. Kahneman, 1981-31998-001). The present study examined 3 possible moderators of gambling choices—alcohol, gender, and sensation seeking—among 108 healthy male and female volunteers. After receiving a moderate dose of alcohol, a placebo, or a no-alcohol control beverage, participants completed a betting task in which they could risk a monetary bonus by selecting and playing out a potential gain and a potential loss. Results indicated a preference-reversal effect among high sensation seekers only. The finding that individual differences moderated gambling choices is more consistent with L. L. Lopes's (see record 1987-98851-006) security-potential/aspiration (SP/A) theory of decision making than with prospect theory. As in previous experimental studies, no significant effects were found for a moderate dose of alcohol. Using SP/A and risk homeostasis theory, the methodological and conceptual reasons for a consistent lack of an effect of alcohol on gambling choices across several studies are discussed.

DOI

10.1037/0893-164X.13.3.243

Peer Reviewed

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