New research out of the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada suggests that all the blinking lights and dinging bell-like noises in casinos may be as problematic as they are stimulating. A study from UBC researchers indicates that these time-honored basics of casinos everywhere could play a key role in promoting risky gambling behavior.
The findings were recently detailed in the neuroscience journal JNeurosci, and indicate that the visual and sonic overload people experience when walking through a casino could be a significant factor in promoting problem gambling.
The study was prompted by previous research at UBC which found that rats were more prone to risky decision-making when flashing lights were added to the equation. Scientists wanted to see if the same behavior held true in humans.
A portion of the 131 participants were given a video game to play in a quiet environment. The rest played the same game, but with all the bells and whistles you’d find while playing a slot machine in a real casino.