In the current study, six slot machine players were exposed to two concurrently available computer simulated slot machines (one yellow and one blue). The blue slot machine produced a high frequency of near-miss outcomes and the yellow slot produced no such outcomes. Both machines produced reinforcement on a random-ratio 10 schedule and response options were presented in a free operant paradigm. After a 50-trial exposure, participants completed multiple exemplar training and testing as well as a stimulus-sort task to form a relation between the color blue and ‘worse-than’ and then were re-exposed to the slot machine task for another 50 trials. Results indicated that four of six participants initially showed a preference for the near-miss slot machine. However following training and testing phases, four of six participants’ response allocation toward this slot decreased. The results are discussed in terms of the formal and functional properties of what is termed as the ‘near-miss’ effect.



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