Excessive social media users demonstrate impaired decision making in the Iowa Gambling Task [open access article]

Background and aims: Online social networking sites (SNSs) like Facebook provide users with myriad social rewards. These social rewards bring users back to SNSs repeatedly, with some users displaying maladaptive, excessive SNS use. Symptoms of this excessive SNS use are similar to symptoms of substance use and behavioral addictive disorders. Importantly, individuals with substance use and behavioral addictive disorders have difficulty making value-based decisions, as demonstrated with paradigms like the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT); however, it is currently unknown if excessive SNS users display the same decision-making deficits. Therefore, in this study, we aimed to investigate the relationship between excessive SNS use and IGT performance.

Methods: We administered the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale (BFAS) to 71 participants to assess their maladaptive use of the Facebook SNS. We next had them perform 100 trials of the IGT to assess their value-based decision making. Results: We found a negative correlation between BFAS score and performance in the IGT across participants, specifically over the last block of 20 trials. There were no correlations between BFAS score and IGT performance in earlier blocks of trials.

Discussion: Our results demonstrate that more severe, excessive SNS use is associated with more deficient value based decision making. In particular, our results indicate that excessive SNS users may make more risky decisions during the IGT task. Conclusion: This result further supports a parallel between individuals with problematic, excessive SNS use, and individuals with substance use and behavioral addictive disorders. Access full article

Citation: Meshi, D., Elizarova, A., Bender, A., & Verdejo-Garcia, A. (2018). Journal of Behavioral Addictions. DOI: 10.1556/2006.7.2018.138

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Young people’s awareness of the timing and placement of gambling advertising on traditional and social media platforms: a study of 11–16-year-olds in Australia (open access article)

Thomas, S. L., Bestman, A., Pitt, H., Cassidy, R., McCarthy, S., Nyemcsok, C., Cowlishaw, S., & Daube, M. (2018). Harm Reduction Journal, 15(51). doi:10.1186/s12954-018-0254-6

Abstract: Research has demonstrated that the promotion of gambling, particularly within sport, may have a significant impact on positively shaping young people’s attitudes towards gambling. While some governments have implemented restrictions to limit young people’s exposure to gambling advertising, few studies have investigated where young people recall seeing gambling advertising, and whether they perceive that advertising restrictions have gone far enough in reducing exposure to these promotions.. Access full article

Who Pays to Play Freemium Games? The Profiles and Motivations of Players Who Make Purchases Within Social Casino Games

Exposure to and Engagement With Gambling Marketing in Social Media: Reported Impacts on Moderate-Risk and Problem Gamblers

Digital advertising for gambling and specifically marketing via social media have increased in recent years, and the impact on vulnerable consumers, including moderate-risk and problem gamblers, is unknown. Social media promotions often fall outside of advertising restrictions and codes of conduct and may have an inequitable effect on susceptible gamblers. This study aimed to investigate recall of exposure to, and reported impact on gamblers of, gambling promotions and marketing content on social media, with a focus on vulnerable users currently experiencing gambling problems. Gamblers who use social media (N = 964) completed an online survey assessing their exposure to and engagement with gambling operators on social media, their problem gambling severity, and the impact of social media promotions on their gambling…

Source: Gainsbury, S. M., King, D. L., Russell, A. M. T., Delfabbro, P., Derevensky, J., & Hing, N. (2016). Exposure to and Engagement With Gambling Marketing in Social Media: Reported Impacts on Moderate-Risk and Problem Gamblers. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors: Journal of the Society of Psychologists in Addictive Behaviors. http://doi.org/10.1037/adb0000156

Early exposure to digital simulated gambling: A review and conceptual model

Young people are increasingly exposed to interactive simulated gambling activities and promotions via digital and social media. However, the individual harms and social burdens associated with early exposure to simulated gambling activities currently are not well understood. This review presents a two-pathway model that conceptualizes the potential risks and benefits of early exposure to a variety of digital simulated gambling activities (e.g., ‘free-to-play’ online casinos, gambling-like video games, and social casino games). The catalyst pathway describes risk factors associated with early exposure to simulated gambling that may increase the risk of problem gambling…

Source: King, D. L., & Delfabbro, P. H. (2016). Early exposure to digital simulated gambling: A review and conceptual model. Computers in Human Behavior, 55, 198–206.

The use of social media in gambling

The purpose of this project was to identify and describe the availability and promotion of gambling and social casino game opportunities via social media; whether there has been a transition between social casino game play and gambling; and the potential for social media to be used to promote responsible gambling…

Link to PDF: Gainsbury, S. M., King, D., Delfabbro, P., Hing, N., Russell, A., Blaszczynski, A., & Derevensky, J. (2015). The use of social media in gambling. Lismore, NSW, Australia: Centre for Gambling Education & Research, Southern Cross University.