Memory for Future Gambling Wins

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Analogous to false memories for the past, gambling behavior may be influenced by the development of vivid, believed false “memories” for future gambling outcomes. We examined the degree to which believed memory-like representations for future gambling wins and losses were associated with prior substantial win experiences, frequency of gambling, risk for problem gambling, and other types of gambling expectancies. Regular gamblers with and without prior substantial wins rated the strength of a specific outcome expectancy, their belief that substantial gambling wins and losses would occur in the future, and rated the strength of “memory” for future gambling wins and losses. They then described a future win and a future loss and rated memory-like phenomenal characteristics for these events. Prior winners rated future wins as more believable relative to future losses, and rated future gambling outcomes as more memory-like than did gamblers without prior win experiences. Belief and memory for future wins correlated positively with frequency of gambling and positive response expectancies (e.g. relaxation when gambling). Belief and memory for future losses correlated with negative outcome expectancies and endorsement of problem gambling risk. Expecations about future wins and losses are likely influenced by believed memory-like representations for future wins and losses.

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