Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Perspective

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Perspective

Article excerpt

Ours is a greedy society. Where there is a profit to be made, there is no shortage of people scheming to make it--and there is a profit to be made in promoting gambling.

So, it is not surprising that society not only does little to warn young people of the potential perils of gambling. It aggressively markets gambling to youth, just as it markets foods that encourage obesity to children, as well as clothing and accessories that promote precocious sexual behavior. There's tremendous profit in getting people to spend money on things that have little meaning.

Commercial video games, in particular, seem to foster the development of a gambling mentality in children and adolescents. A hallmark of most video games is a reward system whereby players take risks to earn points or advance to the next level. Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose--but the possibility of winning is what drives the risk taking.

This intermittent positive reinforcement is probably the most powerful behavior motivator for humans ever clearly identified, and it is the psychological device that makes gambling exciting. It also drives the need among problem and pathological gamblers to take progressively greater risks to achieve the same level of excitement. …

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