Pigeons trained to gamble

No joke. Studies have shown that pigeons could be made a potential gambling addict by just pecking colors in exchange for a reward. Do these 70’s type of experiments ring a bell in regards of why gambling can be so addictive? Chasing the big win(s)? Making more losses then you should? Risk it for the bisquit? This interesting article and video i included shows a bit of the pre-historic knowledge on classic and mechanic slot machines, and how that evolved in the gambling we see today. But also in Facebook or Instagram, or how regular games on a computer are made to be highly addictive in exchange for more time spend on device.

The researchers trained eight pigeons to peck at keys that caused a vertical or horizontal light to be displayed on a screen in yellow, blue, red or green colors. In return they received food rewards. If they pecked at the key that presented a horizontal line (yellow or blue) three food pellets were dispensed each time, which therefore represented a non-gambling option. If they pecked on the key for the vertical line, it was one color (say green) 80 percent of the time, in which case no food was delivered. The remaining 20 percent of the time the line was the signal color (say red), in which case 10 pellets were dispensed. The vertical line therefore represented a gambling option. (Color combinations were changed for different birds to avoid any bias.)

After Zentall and Stagner had trained the birds to understand what the lines and colors meant they then carried out many trials to see which the birds preferred. The results were that the pigeons chose the riskier 10 pellets or nothing option in over 80 percent of the trials, even though on average they would receive 50 percent more food if they chose the other option. In a later experiment they trained seven new pigeons, but this time both red and green colors triggered the release of 10 pellets 20 percent of the time and nothing the rest of the time. The yellow and blue colors still resulted in three pellets being released. In this case the pigeons chose the yellow/blue option for a sure payout of three pellets.

Zentall said the findings suggest the pigeons in the first trials put excess weight on the excitement on the windfall that resulted from a red light, and evening out the odds on red and green detracted from the excitement. He commented that in human gambling watching a winning pattern appear on a slot machine, for example, precedes winning the money, and suggested gamblers would not wager as often if there were no signals for their winning — so slot machine players could not see the wheels, and roulette players could not see the ball. Zentall said if the pigeons were hungry they tended to gamble more than if they were already satisfied, despite having more to lose, and this has parallels in human gambling studies, which have shown that people who are dissatisfied with their lives and have less money tend to gamble more than those who are wealthier and more satisfied.

Source: https://phys.org/news/2010-10-pigeons-gamble.html – a interesting subject. Most games are not just designed for it’s fancy graphics but to actually reward you with smaller wins even tho you had a larger loss, hoping you would be up for the big paycheque or whatsoever. Hey, did you know i have a deal available? Check out Free € 50 upon registration & more.

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