Due to certain ethical and procedural considerations, it is not possible to con-duct certain experimental studies on human gambling behavior. Animal mod-els of gambling may hold some utility because they can possibly overcome these considerations. The present experiment was a first attempt to establish an animal model of gambling by having rats play a “slot machine.” Rats pressed a lever on a fixed-ratio 5 schedule of reinforcement. In the Cue conditions, a bank of stimulus lights flashed after the completion of the ratio, with the pattern of lights that subsequently remained illuminated signaling what consequence would be received (i.e., a “loss” or small, medium, or large “win”). In the No-Cue conditions, the stimulus display was not used and the consequences were not signaled. Results showed that, in terms of preratio pausing, the rats dis-played a similar pattern of behavior as shown by humans playing an actual slot machine. However, this pattern of behavior did not vary as a function of the presence or absence of the “slot” stimuli as one might expect to observe with human gamblers. Thus, the procedure shows some promise as an animal model of gambling, but additional modifications are necessary before it can be consi-dered an adequate model.
Weatherly, Jeffrey N. and Derenne, Adam
"Rats Playing a Slot Machine: a Preliminary Attempt at an Animal Gambling Model,"
Analysis of Gambling Behavior: Vol. 1
, Article 1.
Available at: https://repository.stcloudstate.edu/agb/vol1/iss2/1