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Jon Grant, M.D., J.D., M.P.H. – Near Misses in Pathological Gambling May Trick the Brain

Near Misses in Pathological Gambling May Trick the Brain

Dr. Jon Grant discusses how research suggests that “near misses” in gambling may have the ability to trick our brain into thinking that the loss can be turned into a win if the gambler just “tries harder.” Research using neuroimaging suggests cortical activation in brain regions associated with wins are also activated, to a slightly lesser degree when pathological gamblers encounter “near misses” and thus, it may mimic the illusion that one is successful in gambling behavior where losses are obtained. These patterns may influence irrational thinking among pathological gamblers.

Research article cited by Dr. Grant: Clark, L., Lawrence, A. J., Astley-Jones, F. & Gray, N. 2009 Gambling near-misses enhance motivation to gamble and recruit win-related brain circuitry. Neuron 61, 481–490.