Submission Type

Presentation

Submission Title

‘Zoning In’ or ‘Zoning Out’? Investigating slot machine immersion with mobile eye tracking.

Session Title

Session 2-3-A: Problem Gambling and Emerging Technology

Location

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

Start Date

29-5-2019 1:45 PM

End Date

29-5-2019 3:10 PM

Disciplines

Cognitive Psychology

Abstract

Immersion (or being ‘in the zone’) is a feeling of trance-like focus on a particular activity. It occurs in many settings, from silent reading to fast-paced video games. Among gambling forms, however, it is disproportionately linked to slot machines and is a robust predictor of problem gambling. Some authors have conjectured that immersion is the primary goal of gamblers seeking to use slot machines as a distraction from stress or low mood. However, overt attention to a genuine slot machine during immersion has not been investigated, and it is unclear whether immersed gamblers are ‘zoning in,’ improving their focus on the game, or ‘zoning out,’ escaping both their affective state and the game itself.

In this pre-registered experiment, 63 slot machine players used a genuine game while wearing mobile eye tracking glasses. We measured participants’ focus on different parts of the game screen and physiological reactions to each spin outcome. Counter to previous assertions and consistent with ‘zoning in’, immersion (via the Dissociation Questionnaire and Game Experience Questionnaire Flow subscale) predicted greater time spent looking at the credit balance relative to the game reels. Additionally, pupillary data indicated a significant arousal response to free-spin bonus features independent of immersion.

Keywords

Eye tracking, Slot machine, Immersion, Flow, Dissociation, Pupillometry

Author Bio

Spencer Murch is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Gambling Research at the University of British Columbia, and a graduate fellow of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. His work focuses on biomarkers of player experience during slot machine gambling.

Funding Sources

The Centre for Gambling Research at UBC is supported by funding from the Province of British Columbia and the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC), a Canadian Crown Corporation. The Province of British Columbia and BCLC had no further involvement in the research, design, methodology, conduct, analyses or write-up of the study, and impose no constraints on publishing. Spencer Murch holds a doctoral fellowship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, who placed no constraints on this research.

Competing Interests

The Centre for Gambling Research at UBC is supported by funding from the Province of British Columbia and the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC), a Canadian Crown Corporation. The Province of British Columbia and BCLC had no further involvement in the research, design, methodology, conduct, analyses or write-up of the study, and impose no constraints on publishing. Spencer Murch holds a doctoral fellowship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, who placed no constraints on this research.

Share

COinS
 
May 29th, 1:45 PM May 29th, 3:10 PM

‘Zoning In’ or ‘Zoning Out’? Investigating slot machine immersion with mobile eye tracking.

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

Immersion (or being ‘in the zone’) is a feeling of trance-like focus on a particular activity. It occurs in many settings, from silent reading to fast-paced video games. Among gambling forms, however, it is disproportionately linked to slot machines and is a robust predictor of problem gambling. Some authors have conjectured that immersion is the primary goal of gamblers seeking to use slot machines as a distraction from stress or low mood. However, overt attention to a genuine slot machine during immersion has not been investigated, and it is unclear whether immersed gamblers are ‘zoning in,’ improving their focus on the game, or ‘zoning out,’ escaping both their affective state and the game itself.

In this pre-registered experiment, 63 slot machine players used a genuine game while wearing mobile eye tracking glasses. We measured participants’ focus on different parts of the game screen and physiological reactions to each spin outcome. Counter to previous assertions and consistent with ‘zoning in’, immersion (via the Dissociation Questionnaire and Game Experience Questionnaire Flow subscale) predicted greater time spent looking at the credit balance relative to the game reels. Additionally, pupillary data indicated a significant arousal response to free-spin bonus features independent of immersion.