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Slot Machine Sound Impact on Gamblers Report

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Updated: Mar 30th, 2021

Objectives of the Original Research Article

The original article focused on investigating the role of sound in response to a slot machine plan. The researchers were interested in investigating the relationship between the slot machine sounds and the reactions of the players. They suspected that the sound was programmed deliberately to manipulate players so that they can continue playing the game even if they are not winning any gamble. The following were the specific objectives of the researchers in this article.

  • To determine the psychological impact of slot machine sounds on the players.
  • To determine the psychophysical impact of the slot machine sounds on the players.
  • To develop an understanding of the programming used in developing the slot machines.

The researchers were interested in understanding the reasons why the machines had jubilant songs of victory even in cases when the gambler had made an overall loss. The above objectives could only be achieved by conducting primary research.

Design of the Original Research Article and Its Limitations

The researchers had to develop a research design that would enable them to gather the relevant data from the respondents that would adequately inform the findings of the study. The researcher started by identifying 96 players who were interested in participating in this game. The selection of the participants was done using two approaches. The first approach involved the use of online classified ads known as kijiji.com which helped in selecting 13 males and 9 female participants (Dixon et al. 216). The second approach involved a simple random selection of the participants at the entrance to one of the most popular slots venues in Ontario. Both samples were tested to ensure that they were a true representative of the entire population that can be used to generalize. In total, 52 males and 44 females were selected to take part in the study.

The researchers used several apparatus to collect data from the respondents in the process of and after completion of the game. A Power-lab system was used to detect changes in heart rate and skin temperature during the game, especially at the time the slot machine makes the sound. The system helped to amplify the ECG signals that were detected using electrodes that were attached above the left hip and below the armpits of the participants.

Using these instruments, the researchers could monitor closely changes in each participant’s heart rates in cases of wins and losses. Changes in the levels of skin conductance were also determined using this instrument. The researchers also used a slot machine simulator to determine the patterns of the slot machines. This was necessary to understand how the machines were programmed to determine if there was any form of manipulation that could be detected.

After collecting data using the instruments mentioned above, the researchers engaged the respondents in an oral interview immediately after the end of the games. The first question that was posed to them soon after the end of the game was whether they thought they had won or lost the game. The idea was to capture the events in the mind of the player as influenced by the sounds made by the slot machine.

That is why the question was posed soon after the end of the sound or when the slot was still making the sound. The researchers also asked the respondents their rates of excitement that were directly related to the sounds made by the machine slot and how this related to their perception about having won or lost the game. Of interest was to determine if the respondents also believed that the sounds made by the machine influenced their ability to continue with the game even after making a long losing streak.

The two-dimensional approach of collecting data from the respondent was very effective. First, the researchers obtained results from the scientific instruments that could not be manipulated by the participants. Sometimes participants can lie when asked specific questions, but they cannot lie to themselves hence the machines were able to collect near-accurate data. The data collected scientifically was then supported by the responses they gave to determine if they had a close relationship.

The study had some limitations that are worth noting at this stage. According to Schull, conducting social science research may sometimes be a little more challenging than conducting pure science research (75). When investigating people, they can easily manipulate their responses in a given way that may lead to a collection of data. In this study, the respondents could easily give misleading information to the researchers either intentionally or unintentionally when they are not sure about the response that is needed. The researchers could also not rely on the scientific instruments used to be 100% accurate. The nervousness of the respondents given that they are aware that they are being investigated may sometimes be the cause of the changes detected in the instruments.

Findings of the Original Research Article

The researchers were able to collect heart rate deceleration, which they screened before computing the data into mixed-model ANOVA. The researchers were able to establish that in case the participants lost the dame, then heart rate deceleration was absent. However, heart rate deceleration was significantly seen in all the win cases. It was also found that the greater the wins the greater the rates of deceleration.

The researcher also conducted Skin Conductance Response Amplitudes to determine the level of excitement of the players in this game. They found out that the excitement rates were high when the slots machine sounds were used than when the game used no sound. The amplitude increased even further when the sound was accompanied by any win, even in cases where the wins were not significant.

The researchers also analyzed the responses obtained from the questionnaires used in the study. First, they determined the rates of pleasantness in the game, as stated by the players. The majority of the respondents stated that they found great arousal and pleasantness when playing with the slot machine sounds on than when they were off. This outcome closely resonates with the findings made using the scientific instruments that also confirmed that sounds elicited greater arousal among the players.

Finally, the researchers obtained the outcome of the perception of the players on whether they had an overall win or loss by the end of the game based on two scenarios that were presented to them. The majority of them overestimated their win when they played with the sounds on. However, there was close accuracy about the win or loss when they played without the sounds. This was a clear demonstration that the players were manipulated by the slot machine sounds every time they played the game.

First, it made them develop a wrong impression about their wins. The sound also made them believe that they were just about to win a jackpot if they continued playing. They did not realize that the narrow losses and the accompanying sounds were programmed to do just that, make them lose the jackpots by a very narrow margin. The respondents stated that the narrow losses and the encouraging sounds would always motivate them to continue playing, hoping that they will make a huge breakthrough.

How the Research Informs Public Policy

The findings of this research may have a serious bearing on the policy regarding betting in this country. Gambling is one of the oldest games in various parts of the world (Belanger and Williams 563). In modern society, governments have come up with various policy measures to ensure that the game is treated just like any other business where fairness is one of the guiding principles in the game. This research demonstrates that betting companies have been unfair in rewarding their customers.

The slot machines have been designed to ensure that players lose the game very narrowly, making them believe that they have the opportunity of coming out with a win. This way, they continue playing as they lose their money to these companies. When they make insignificant wins, the sounds are designed to give them a massive cheer, creating a false psychological impression that they have achieved something.

The policymakers will have to review laws and regulations guiding the betting industry because it has lost its original purpose (Quinn 139). The firms in this industry have created a new system where players have completely lost their true aim in the game. These gamblers continue losing, and they seem not bothered by this loss. This is so because the companies have created a new goal for the players.

When they get to the machines, then the best they come out with is psychological wins accompanied by financial losses. Using this new design of the game, these companies continue amassing wealth from the unsuspecting public only making a few rewards that are widely published in social media to market their products (Clark 327). The industry may need to be redefined to take two possible approaches.

The first approach may be to take the psychological win strategy for the clients and financial gains for the companies, which is actually what is currently taking place. In this case, the betting companies will have to come out clean and inform their clients about this truth. The second approach will be to embrace traditional gambling, where winning or losing is purely based on chance without any unfair manipulations. Using a hybrid version that harms clients is unfair and unacceptable.

Accuracy and Objectivity of the Media Coverage

The findings of this research were reported by Meeri of Washington Post (1). The reporter gave a detailed review of the findings of the report with some degree of accuracy. First, the reporter informs his audience that the story is directly based on a scientific study, not a piece of unfounded rumor going around within the society. The reporter also accurately defines the individuals who took part in the research, especially the behavioral neuroscientist who was the lead researcher.

This gives his report some credibility. It assures the audience that the findings of the study were backed by a strong scientific study done by highly qualified professionals. The accuracy of this media coverage also comes when defining the participants in the study. As a reporter, he may not have the space to write a detailed methodology of the findings. As such, he tries to be as objective as possible in providing all the important information about the study that readers may find relevant.

The report does not delve much into the scientific methodologies used in collecting data and how each of the instruments used aided in confirming the other findings. However, reading the report gives a clear overview of how the researchers conducted their study and some of their major findings. The fact that the reporter used direct quotes from the study further improves the accuracy and objectivity of the media coverage.

A critical analysis of the media coverage reveals that although the reporter made a great effort to remain as objective as possible in his report, some elements of personal opinion could still be detected. Meeri says “A recent study shows that some of those noises can easily fool our brains into thinking that we have won” (1). The choice of words of the reporter betrays his feelings towards this issue. He uses the phrase fool our brains to express disgust towards the manipulation by the betting companies. He personalizes the report when he uses the word ‘our’ instead of ‘players’ to describe the people who end up losing money.

Works Cited

Belanger, Yale, and Robert Williams. “The First Nations’ Contribution to Alberta’s Charitable Gaming Model: Assessing the Impacts”. Canadian Public Policy 38.4 (2012): 551–572. Print.

Clark, Luke. “Decision-making during Gambling: An Integration of Cognitive and Psychobiological Approaches.”.Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences 365.8 (2010): 319–330. Print.

Dixon, Mike, Kevin Harrigan, Diane Santesso, Candice Graydon, Jonathan Fugelsang, and Karen Collins. “The Impact of Sound in Modern Multiline Video Slot Machine Play.” J Gambl Stud 30.1 (2014): 913–929. Print.

Meeri Kim. “Sounds of slot machines can manipulate players, researchers say.” The Washington Post. 2013: Web.

Quinn, Frank. “First Do No Harm: What Could Be Done by Casinos to Limit Pathological Gambling”. Managerial and Decision Economics 22.3 (2001): 133–142. Print.

Schull, Natasha. “Digital Gambling: The Coincidence of Desire and Design”. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 597.4 (2005): 65–81. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2021, March 30). Slot Machine Sound Impact on Gamblers. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/slot-machine-sound-impact-on-gamblers/

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"Slot Machine Sound Impact on Gamblers." IvyPanda, 30 Mar. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/slot-machine-sound-impact-on-gamblers/.

1. IvyPanda. "Slot Machine Sound Impact on Gamblers." March 30, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/slot-machine-sound-impact-on-gamblers/.


IvyPanda. "Slot Machine Sound Impact on Gamblers." March 30, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/slot-machine-sound-impact-on-gamblers/.


IvyPanda. 2021. "Slot Machine Sound Impact on Gamblers." March 30, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/slot-machine-sound-impact-on-gamblers/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Slot Machine Sound Impact on Gamblers'. 30 March.

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