Not Eating The Marshmallow Made Me A Better Gambler!

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Gambling and children don't mix. But children and sweets - well that is a different matter. All those temptations. No wonder I've always struggled to stop my craving for a curly wurly whenever Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory is screened. I used to put it down to Gene Wilder's singing. However, I've discovered that resisting sweets as a child could have

Life's A Bitch When Betting From Your Deck Chair

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This chair I'm sitting feels a little hard. As I'm getting on in years (joke) perhaps I should give a comfy rocker a test drive. That's a rocking chair not an affluent, long-haired bloke with an electric guitar. That deck chair on the beach looks inviting. The sound of the sea, gulls calling... peace and harmony. The perfect situation to take your phone from your pocket and place a bet. 


You Moody Bastard

I woke up this morning in a terrible frame of mind. But something happened and now I'm so positive I could burst. But why? It is surprisingly easy to change someone's mood especially in the short term. In Marieke de Vrie's research participants were show two video clips - The Muppet Show (good mood) Vs Schindler's List (bad mood). People reported that their moods where significantly elevated after the Muppets compared to significantly lowered after Schindler's List. Importantly, their mood

Bet You Buy The Red Car

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What's your favourite colour? Red, blue, orange, purple? In truth, it could well be anything from the spectrum. You know, I'm sure if George Orwell had been looking at colour charts instead of writing Animal Farm he would have made this famous quote: ''All colours are equal, but some are more equal than others.''  I would hazard a guess that if you went to buy a car you'd pick the red one over the brown? Whether we like it or not, our preference for certain colours is based within biology and psychology. 

I've Had A Souper Idea

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Did you realise that we are living in an age of unconscious influence? I'm sure from reading our articles you appreciate that all is not what it seems with what we consider freewill. However, is this reality of choice all but an illusion? In truth, that is quite a frightening thought although we would probably be unaware of its implications. It is only upon reading such articles that we would even question. Psychology - its use as a tool

He's Backed Every Favourite Since 1973

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When you make a decision it seems natural to think you have weighed up all the factors. Let's say you considered a bet. You think the horse has winning form. It likes the ground. Good jockey. The price is better than you thought and looks value. Job done. Well, that's the logic, hey. However, research suggests there may be a problem. Our decision making is mostly unconscious. Now you may consider that is a load of old rubbish. ''I know what I think!'' But

What You See Is What You Get?

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It's impossible to live among other people and not be influenced by them in some way. Sometimes, others attempts to change our thoughts or behaviour are obvious, such as a policeman telling you to pull over as you drive down the street. However, on other occasions social influence is less direct. Sometimes the mere presence of others can influence our behaviour by inhibiting or enhancing it. But what is conformity? Crutchfield (1955) defined it as: ''yielding to group

You Can't Influence Me!

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Research in the field of social cognition suggests that priming may considerably influence our behaviour. Primes may influence our mood and behaviour without us being aware of them. Bargh et al. (1996) asked participants to arrange lists of words to form meaningful sentences. In the experimental group, each word list contained a word related to the concept of old age: wrinkled, ancient... Participants were

Did You See It?

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Cognitive psychologists Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris (1999) revealed how people can focus so hard on something that they become blind to the unexpected, even when staring right at it! ''Inattentional blindness'' illustrates how easy we miss details when we are not looking out for them. This classic study asked participants to focus on a video of people passing basketballs. Half of the players were dressed in black while the others wore white. The participants were asked to count the number of passes

It's Your Choice...

So it's a close call between your favourite teams playing at the weekend. In fact, you can't pick between them. But from a psychological perspective, what can we learn from such a choice? Well, Shafir (1993) has shown that choosing one of two things is not the complement of rejecting one of the two things. Sometimes when deciding between two options, people both select and reject the same option. When we are trying to select an option we tend to focus on positive features and when we are looking for reasons to reject we tend to focus on negative. Thus, positive features will be

Expert Vs Novice: Place Your Bets Now

So what's your selection? You know, to even contemplate such a task takes considerable knowledge, let alone successfully finding the winner! But wait a minute. How come my mate Joe seems to be ahead of the game? In fact, he seems to have the bookies on the back foot. He's been banned by many. I guess you could call him a professional gambler. But is there a difference between how an expert and novice solve problems?  While it is

10 Killer Quotes

Gambler's Psychology Kit is about two subjects: gambling & psychology. What better way to inspire, question & debate enquiring minds than these ''10 Killer Quotes''. ''The more you know, the less you need to think'' (Greene, 1987) "He had the calm confidence of a Christian with four aces." (Mark Twain) ''At first the confusion was total and very frightening to him. Once he held a chocolate in the palm of one hand, covered it with the other for a few seconds until its image disappeared from his memory. When he uncovered it, he thought he had performed a magic trick, conjured it up from nowhere. He repeated it again and again, with total astonishment and growing fear each time.'' (Baddeley, 1990) talking about Clive Wearing who suffered brain damage after a rare viral infection. "They gambled in the Garden of Eden, and they will again if there's another one." (Richard Albert Canfield) ''The BaMbuti pygmies live in the dense

Do You Remember A Horse Called Reminiscence Bump?

Take a moment and think back to one of your most memorable race days. It could have been a favourite horse, a winning bet or a day when everything you touched turned to gold. Now consider this...is that memory retrieved from a period when you were aged 10 to 30 years? This phenomenon is known by psychologists as the reminiscence bump. It is distinguished by an increase in recall of memories relative to memories that precedes it and those that follow. There have been dozens of studies  leading to

Bet I Can Throw A Six

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I know it's illogical but I've cracked it! After hours of practice I am confident I have increased my chance of throwing double six. It's a great little system: the harder I throw the dice the higher the score; slower then lower numbers appear. It works like magic. I can't wait to get down the casino & clean up. Well, that's what some people would have you believe and for all of its madness is it a

Damn That Lucky Black Cat...

Studying compulsive gamblers who were seeking treatment at the National Problem Gambling Clinic, the researchers found that those gamblers with higher levels of impulsivity were much more susceptible to errors in reasoning associated with gambling, such as superstitious rituals (e.g. carrying a lucky charm) and explaining away recent losses (e.g. on bad luck or 'cold' machines). The findings were published today, 29 June, in the journal Psychological Medicine

Emotion: The Gambler's Enemy

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Bookies rely on emotion to fill their coffers. Think about the big race meeting for example the pageantry, the noise, the carnival atmosphere. Do you think that this evolved by accident? It’s all engendered to create a mob mentality, to get people going with the flow. Logical methodical thought is the bookies enemy. Someone who is having a good time, caught up in the party atmosphere, or indeed they may be

Understanding The Psychology Of Losing

During my relatively short blackjack career of almost two years, I’ve enjoyed some euphoric winning streaks and disastrous losing streaks. Like most players, I take the winning streaks in stride -- of course I won, isn’t that the idea? The losing streaks, on the other hand, are much more difficult to handle. Extended losing streaks can be disappointing, debilitating, and downright depressing, no matter how sure you are that you were playing with an advantage. With experience, the inevitable swings become more tolerable and expected. I’ve suffered several miserable sessions in which I barely managed to avoid CTR paperwork -- these

Can The Psychology Of Chess Improve Your Gambling?


I can't say I'm the greatest chess player.  In fact I imagine most school children with a passion for the game would find me an easy opponent. However, I find the psychology of chess quite informative because I can see a distinct relationship between it  and the psychology of gambling in that much of betting is about noticing familiar patterns.  Over the years, this factor has registered with me many times as each new two-year-old season in ways is fundamentally the same as the one

Motivation - The Why Of Behaviour


Motivation, in psychology, the intention of achieving a goal, leading to goal-directed behaviour. Some human activity seems to be best explained by postulating an inner directing drive. While a drive is often considered to be an innate biological mechanism that determines the organism's activity (instinct), a motive is defined as an innate mechanism modified by learning. The definition of motivation can be viewed on two levels. On the one hand,

Have You Read The Self Help Book On Being Miserable?


An article from Dr Richard Friedman regarding self defeating behaviour and how people sabotage their own success. This makes interesting reading from a gambling perspective. For some gamblers perhaps their failure is down to an affective self-serving mechanism. At a lower level this article makes a valid point to analyse our thinking processes when making a wager.

A Contrasting Point On Gambling Psychology

As I suggested at the time, most research has been of a clinical underpinning investigating the psychopathology of gambling addiction. However, few areas of research have been specifically conducted about gambling psychology in terms of how this knowledge may be used as a tool of advantage. It is interesting to consider stereotypical behaviour or fixed-action patterns which social psychological research has investigated in its applications of business and

I Have The Strangest Feeling


I have been reviewing more social psychology research, specifically social influence with regard to how differing factors manipulate our gambling behaviour. My last article: 'I followed that horse off a cliff' highlighted how we may be assigned to a troubled path because consistency and commitment may negatively influence our daily routine. Psychologists call this a click

I'm Not Sure You Should Read This - It Might Kill You!


The principle of social proof has been an area of much research for psychologists and their findings are quite frankly terrifying. Walter Lippmann - an American intellectual, Pulitzer Prize winner & one of the first men to introduce the concept of the Cold War - quoted: 'Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.' In many ways this could be a definition of social proof - the influences of what we consider correct behaviour. We view a behaviour as correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it, especially those who we consider similar

I Followed That Horse Off A Cliff


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A study by Knox & Inkster (1968) revealed something interesting about people at the racetrack. Just after placing a bet they were much more confident of their horses' chance of winning than immediately before the wager. What is intriguing is that nothing about the horses' chances had changed: it was the same horse, the same course, the same opposition. What had changed was that the bettor considered his likelihood of
winning had greatly improved with that ticket in hand.