betting, competition, gambling, games, motivation, psychology
Guest post by Ralph S. Walter
The psychological question of what makes people want to play casino games has never been too much of a mystery. Casino environments are basically built to give us little surges of adrenaline and dopamine. There are exciting sounds and visuals on gaming machines signifying victory; there’s a thrill in raking in a small stack of chips at a poker table, even if you’ve lost your previous 10 hands; somebody is always winning somewhere, effectively giving you continual previews of the joy and excitement you too could feel. The incentive, so to speak, is right there in front of you (or rather, all around you).
When it comes to sport and event betting, however, motivation and incentive are a little bit murkier. Next to casino play, this side of the gambling business is positively dull: casino sportsbooks are essentially more depressing versions of sports bars, and betting slips are about as bland to look at as grocery store receipts. Nothing jingles or flashes if you win, and you aren’t immediately gifted with colorful tokens representing your winnings. So what exactly makes people want to bet? We’re digging into some of the psychological motivators and reasons below.
The Same Old Reasons
There are actually some fairly academic looks into the psychology of sports betting, and really they turn up the same old reasons behind gambling that most of us are at least vaguely familiar with – the things that are somewhat foundational, impacting us before the excitement of a casino environment even comes into play. Most notably, it’s risk and reward. The risk of gambling produces adrenaline in and of itself; we almost inherently like putting something on the line and not knowing if it will pay off (though interestingly, men seem to enjoy this more than women, based on studies). As for reward, it’s fairly self-explanatory. We also enjoy gambling not because of the activity itself, but because we like the possibility of the rewards it could bring about. The most basic way to understand this psychology is just to think about why people keep buying lottery tickets – but it factors into sports betting as well.
Belief In Knowledge
With more specific regard to sports betting, there is also an element of the psychology that ties into people’s knowledge of the subject at hand. We tend to bet on sports (or events, politics, etc.) that we’re familiar with – that we think we know, and by extension, can predict. Studies have actually indicated that having greater knowledge of a given subject doesn’t necessarily correlate to more success betting, but that’s a hard thing for us to tell ourselves. If we feel like experts about something, we want to put that expertise to use in a practical, rewarding manner – just as we would in everyday life or with a work-related skill.
More and more we’re also seeing betting twisted into something resembling a game, which in turn allows bettors to feel as if knowledge and skill are playing a role. It’s no accident that the budding online gambling culture in New Jersey is compared and in some cases directly tied to the existing daily fantasy sports industry in the U.S. Before betting legalization started, daily fantasy was effectively taking advantage of legal loopholes and allowing people to gamble on outcomes within the boundaries of fantasy sports. This is a game, to most people – one that we at least perceive is decided to some extent based on our skills, knowledge, and decisions. The more opportunities we have to bet in this fashion, the more likely competitive instincts are to come into play. Simply put, we bet because we feel like we’re just playing games we know how to win.
Desire To Improve
There is also an element of loss aversion present in the psychology of sports betting. It may not get us to start betting in the first place, but it can certainly get us to keep at it once we’ve started, just as it’s so often responsible for keeping someone sitting at a poker table for too long. The idea, for those who aren’t familiar, is simply that the pain of losing is greater than the joy of winning. We care more when we lose a bet than when we win one. And because losing is essentially inherently more likely in betting, we have an easy recipe for staying interested. The more bets we lose, the less we want to walk away, and the surer we become that the next one will be a winner.
my typing was no good. said:
it may not be appreciated that arnold was not just “a” bodybuilder but the GOAT bodybuilder.
Is that even contested?
ian smith said:
they have bigger backs and bigger legs today. but they also have bubble guts due to hgh or insulin.
Pumpkin, how different are the WISC IC process approach score vs normal test?
kimberley hole said:
i’d like to hear more from the “mikey” personality on Cynicism and less on video gay-mes.
Mikey Blayze said:
ok people are motivated by genes and meme.
Pumpkin, if you miss and item or two because of poor verbal expression ability, would your score be underestimated?
pp what is ur mbti?
Article was OK but should’ve tied in IQ more. A bit shallow in that sense. There’s an economist Mark Grinblatt who has written extensively about the role of IQ in investing. I have some papers about IQ and gambling downloaded somewhere….
PP, say for instance some guy is in the 10th percentile of oral expression, but they have average verbal reasoning skills. Would they still get an average score on the similarities subtest?
Probably not because similarities is not a pure test of conceptual reasoning. Almost all wechsler subtests are hybrids of multiple abilities. That’s one reason they look at the profile of scores. For example if you do bad on sim but great on matrix, I think “that’s strange since both tests involve concepts”. Then I find you did even worse on vocabulary & suddenly it makes sense. Your linguistic impairment is masking strong conceptual on sim, but it shows on non-verbal matrix
Pumpkin, say for instance I understood the concept on Sim, but didn’t verbalize it properly, but I verbalized it properly some time after, and my score increased by one scaled score point, from 12 to 13. Then if on the other two times I took it (different tests), I got lower scaled scores, but they all increase to 13 after a couple of retries, can I still safely say my score is 13? Also, my Matrix Reasoning is 14. My vocab score is 12, but since I’m bilingual (with a language in a completely different language family), I could probably add an extra scaled score point. So, would my problem verbalizing that one thing just be measurement error? I’m thinking so. Also, if you T-score it, the difference was only about one point
Ok, this will probably be the last question I ask about it. I hate asking this of anyone, but could you please answer it?
Pumpkin, since I’m bilingual, is it reasonable to assume that the one point I lost on the similarities subtest because of bad verbalization (which I figured out later in the day, or the next day) is due to bilingualism (My language at home is Telugu, my language in school and public is English).
You would know better than I. Did you fail any items because of poor vocabulary?
The item I failed was an item I could conceptualize in my head, but I couldn’t express it well. Are bilinguals penalized because of this? Do bilinguals on average have poorer verbal expression ability than monolinguals. Also, what would my first language be? I was born in America, first word I uttered was in Telugu, went to school since tots, spoke mostly Telugu at home, English in school.
I must say, I didn’t know what a limo was until I was eight years old, I didn’t know what a parcel meant till a couple years back. I didn’t know that the middle finger signified the F word till I was eight years old. I was also a late talker according to my mom.
For some reason, this bilingual discrepancy only happens in America. I saw a study of Finnish and Swedish bilinguals, the bilinguals had higher vocabulary. There was one of bilingual people in Tamil Nadu (India), the bilinguals had higher vocabularies. Now, it could be because of lexical similarities, but Swedish and Finnish are very different. I also saw the same pattern as America on a study done in Italy.
Bilinguals may have high vocabulary in their second language because high verbal IQ people are more likely to learn new languages, however their vocabularies would probably be even higher still if it were their first & only language
Your sim score would likely have been higher had English been your first language but I have no data by which to estimate how much higher it would have been
Pumpkin, am I correct in my reasoning?