When a near-win outcome occurs on a slot machine, stimuli presented resemble those presented when money is won, but no money is won. Research has shown that gamblers prefer and play for longer on slot machines that present near wins. One explanation for this is that near wins are conditioned reinforcers. If so, near wins would produce longer latencies to the next response than clear losses. Another explanation is that near wins produce frustration; if so, then near wins would produce shorter response latencies. The two current experiments manipulated win ratio across two concurrently available slot machines and also manipulated near win frequency. Latencies were longer following near wins, consistent with near wins functioning as conditioned reinforcers. We also explored the effects of near wins on sensitivity to relative win rate and found that higher rates of near wins were associated with greater sensitivity to relative win frequency, an effect also consistent with near wins as conditioned reinforcers.



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