Small Grants 2017-18

Gambling Risk-Taking Behavior in the Aftermath of Broken Promises: The Role of Stress (S44)

Project Approved 2017-18

Dr. Yannick J-L. Griep (Principal Investigator)
Department of Psychology, University of Calgary
Google Scholar Profile

Dr. Daniel McGrath (Co-Investigator)
Department of Psychology, University of Calgary
Google Scholar Profile

Description

The primary goal of the proposed study is to examine the extent to which heightened levels of stress (as induced by perceptions of broken promises) lead to riskier gambling behavior (more risks and lower accuracy of play) among expert gamblers and novice gamblers.

Status (February, 2019)

We have programmed the experiment, done a pilot test and secured an Honours student that will run the experiment. Data collection is under way.

Time Frame: January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019 (extended to December 31, 2019)


Disordered Gambling and Bankruptcy Law Research-Informed Practice for Insolvency Professionals (S45)

Project Approved 2017-18

Dr. Anna J. Lund (Principal Investigator)
Faculty of Law, University of Alberta

Description

This project builds on previous research on how insolvency trustees and judicial officers (collectively referred to as "insolvency professionals") respond to individuals who file for bankruptcy with gambling-related debts. That research indicated that insolvency professionals' responses are problematically inconsistent, with some adopting a therapeutic approach and others a punitive one. The current phase of the research project has two branches:

  1. Knowledge Translation: The researchers are developing research-informed practice guidelines for insolvency trustees about what responses are appropriate to incorporate into the bankruptcy system, and will be co-authoring an article, for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, on the guidelines.
  2. Theoretical Analysis: The Applicant is theorizing how bankruptcy law has taken a therapeutic turn that emulates the process by which problem gambling has been medicalized, and is considering how these theoretical frameworks interact when they converge in the person of the bankrupt gambler.

Status (Complete)

As proposed, the research project included the following objectives:

  1. Anna Lund to present a work in progress at the Emory Law Workshop on Legal Transitions & the Vulnerable Subject in Atlanta Georgia.
  2. Anna Lund and Arooj Shah to prepare guidelines for research informed practice by trustees.
  3. Anna Lund and Arooj Shah to prepare an article on research informed practice by trustees.
  4. Arooj Shah to present research findings at the Alberta Gambling Research Institute Conference.As outlined in further detail below, goals 1, 2, 3, and 4 were achieved. The guidelines for research informed practice are set out in the article prepared by Anna Lund and Arooj Shah, entitled, "Bankrupt Gamblers: Research Informed Practice for Insolvency Trustees."

This research project has advanced knowledge along two different branches:

  1. Knowledge Translation: Anna Lund and Arooj Shah have co-authored an article on research-informed practice for insolvency trustees. This article surveys the literature on disordered gambling and considers how this body of research can inform two aspects of insolvency trustees' practice: identifying bankrupt individuals with gambling problems and intervening to help them recover.
  2. Theoretical Analysis: Anna Lund has authored an article that theorizes how bankruptcy law has taken a therapeutic turn that emulates the process by which problem gambling has been medicalized, and considers how these theoretical frameworks interact when they converge in the person of the bankrupt gambler.

An article, "Help is the Sunny Side of Control: Problems with using the Medical Model of Gambling in Bankruptcy" was submitted to a peer reviewed journal and is currently being revised for re-submission.

Scholarly Conference Papers:

Lund, A. J., & Shah, A. (2019, February 1). Bankrupt Gamblers: Research Informed Practice for Insolvency Trustees. Annual Review of Insolvency Law 2018, Montreal, Quebec.

Shah, A. (2018, April 13). Disordered Gambling & Bankruptcy Law: Research Informed Practice for Insolvency Professionals. Poster presentation, Alberta Gambling Research Institute Conference, Banff, Alberta.

Shah, A. (2018, March 14). Disordered Gambling & Bankruptcy Law: Research Informed Practice for Insolvency Professionals. Poster presentation, University of Alberta Festival of Undergraduate Research, Edmonton, Alberta.

Lund, A. (2017, December 8). Help is the Sunny Side of Control: Problems with using the Medical Model of Gambling in Bankruptcy. Emory Law Workshop on Legal Transitions & the Vulnerable Subject, Atlanta, Georgia.

Media:

University of Alberta, Faculty of Law website. (2018, February 6). Young Researcher Making Waves: Third year student Arooj Shah working with Assistant Professor Anna Lund on problem gambling and bankruptcy law.


Selective Memory in Gamblers: An Autobiographical Memory Approach (S46)

Project Approved 2017-18

Dr. Norman R. Brown (Principal Investigator)
Department of Psychology, University of Alberta
Google Scholar Profile

Description

It is common for researchers to assume that gamblers' autobiographical memories are selective for wins. Although this assumption seems plausible, there appears to be no direct evidence to support it. The research outlined in this proposal is intended to directly address this issue by having gamblers recall, describe and rate their five most memorable gambling experiences, their five largest wins and their five largest losses. If memory is selective for wins, then: (a) a large percentage of events considered most-memorable should be wins; (b) more wins than losses should be recalled in response to the most-memorable prompt; and (c) there should be large overlap between the most-memorable events and the largest-wins events. Regardless of whether these predictions are confirmed (i.e., regardless of whether autobiographical memory is, in fact, selective for wins), content analysis performed on the event memories may be very informative, shedding new light on the range of experiences that gamblers find particularly noteworthy.

Status (July, 2019)

Data collection on this project is complete; we have collected data from 31 active gamblers. We are now in the process of analyzing these data, but are not yet able to provide a complete description of the results. That being said, we have looked at the data that address the primary question addressed by this study, namely whether gamblers have selective memory for wins. Given that loses are more common than wins our answer is a qualified "yes." It turned out that about half of the "most memorable gambling experiences" would have been listed among the gambler's five largest wins. The reminder of events in the most memorable category included large(st)/consequential losses, reversals of fortune, first time experiences and memorable social interactions. Yes, it seems that gamblers do remember their wins, but definitely not to the exclusion of other gambling experiences.

Time frame: November 1, 2017 to October 31, 2019