Psychophysiological and Subjective Arousal during Gambling in Pathological and Non-Pathological Video Lottery Gamblers
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AbstractTwo groups of video lottery gamblers (pathological n = 30, and non-pathological n = 34) were compared while they participated in gambling and gambling related tasks using subjective ratings of excitement, electromyographic activity (EMG), skin conductance level (SCL), and heart rate (HR). Both groups experienced significant increases on all physiological measures from baseline to gambling task, and both groups experienced significant increases in EMG and SCL when thinking about personally relevant wins and increases in SCL and HR when thinking about personally relevant losses. Pathological gamblers reported greater subjective feelings of excitement than non-pathological gamblers when gambling, resting, and thinking about winning, however subjective reports of excitement were not correlated with physiological measures. Preference for stimulating situations did not differ between groups but was significantly negatively correlated with baseline levels of HR and EMG. It was concluded that the pathological and non-pathological gamblers might perceive their responses to gambling and gambling related situations differently since although the groups experienced similar levels of increased physiological response the pathological gamblers reported greater levels of subjective excitement.
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