Slot machines' winning noise music to gamblers' ears

Washington, July 3 (ANI): Winning noises on slot machines make gambling more exciting for people, a new study has claimed.

Mike Dixon and colleagues from the University of Waterloo in Canada showed that sounds caused players to overestimate the number of times they won while playing on slot machines.

Modern slot machines allow players to wager on multiple lines. When they spin and lose, the machine goes quiet. When they spin and win more than their wager, they hear a celebratory song. Interestingly, when they spin and win back less than their wager (bet 1.00 dollars and win back 20 cents) they still hear the celebratory songs despite the fact that overall they lost money on these spins.

Dixon and colleagues sought to see if these celebratory sounds could hide the fact that players were losing money on these so-called 'losses disguised as wins.'

Dixon and team measured gamblers' physiological responses to various slot machine game outcomes - wins, losses and losses disguised as wins - with and without sound during play. During slot machine play, palms may sweat, which increases skin conductance - a measure of arousal.

A total of 96 gamblers played two sessions on a slot machine simulator. In one session, both wins 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 were turned off and players only received visual feedback. The researchers measured the participants' skin conductance and heart rate responses to the various outcomes. At the end of play, the gamblers were asked which session they preferred and why. They also estimated how many spins they had won back more than they wagered.

Sound influenced the overall levels of arousal of players. Skin conductance responses were significantly greater in the session with sound than in the session without sound.

Sounds also contributed to players overestimating their number of wins. While this overestimation occurred both in the quiet and noisy sessions, it was significantly higher in the session with sound - 24 percent versus 15 percent in the session without sound.

The study has been published online in Springer's Journal of Gambling Studies. (ANI)