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Gambling Near-Misses Enhance Motivation to Gamble and Recruit Win-Related Brain Circuitry

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Neuron

Cell Press

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      Summary

      “Near-miss” events, where unsuccessful outcomes are proximal to the jackpot, increase gambling propensity and may be associated with the addictiveness of gambling, but little is known about the neurocognitive mechanisms that underlie their potency. Using a simplified slot machine task, we measured behavioral and neural responses to gambling outcomes. Compared to “full-misses,” near-misses were experienced as less pleasant, but increased desire to play. This effect was restricted to trials where the subject had personal control over arranging their gamble. Near-miss outcomes recruited striatal and insula circuitry that also responded to monetary wins; in addition, near-miss-related activity in the rostral anterior cingulate cortex varied as a function of personal control. Insula activity to near-misses correlated with self-report ratings as well as a questionnaire measure of gambling propensity. These data indicate that near-misses invigorate gambling through the anomalous recruitment of reward circuitry, despite the objective lack of monetary reinforcement on these trials.

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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, CB2 3EB Cambridge, UK
            Author notes
            []Corresponding author lc260@ 123456cam.ac.uk
            Contributors
            Journal
            Neuron
            Neuron
            Cell Press
            0896-6273
            1097-4199
            12 February 2009
            12 February 2009
            : 61
            : 3
            : 481-490
            2658737
            19217383
            NEURON3659
            10.1016/j.neuron.2008.12.031
            © 2009 ELL & Excerpta Medica.

            This document may be redistributed and reused, subject to certain conditions.

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