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J Gambl Stud. 2018 Mar;34(1):199-208. doi: 10.1007/s10899-017-9710-6.

Cognitive Characteristics of Strategic and Non-strategic Gamblers.

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CLLE, Université de Toulouse, CNRS, UT2J, 5, allées Antonio Machado, 31058, Toulouse Cedex 9, France.
CLLE, Université de Toulouse, CNRS, UT2J, 5, allées Antonio Machado, 31058, Toulouse Cedex 9, France.
CHU Nantes, Addictology and Psychiatry Department, Federative Institute of Behavioral Addictions, Nantes, France.
University of Nantes, University of Tours, UMR INSERM 1246 SHERE, Nantes, France.
Laboratoire OCTOGONE, Université de Toulouse, Toulouse, France.
Université Laval, Quebec, Canada.


Participation in strategic and non-strategic games is mostly explained in the literature by gender: men gamble on strategic games, while women gamble on non-strategic games. However, little is known about the underlying cognitive factors that could also distinguish strategic and non-strategic gamblers. We suggest that cognitive style and need for cognition also explain participation in gambling subtypes. From a dual-process perspective, cognitive style is the tendency to reject or accept the fast, automatic answer that comes immediately in response to a problem. Individuals that preferentially reject the automatic response use an analytic style, which suggest processing information in a slow way, with deep treatment. The intuitive style supposes a reliance on fast, automatic answers. The need for cognition provides a motivation to engage in effortful activities. One hundred and forty-nine gamblers (53 strategic and 96 non-strategic) answered the Cognitive Reflection Test, Need For Cognition Scale, and socio-demographic questions. A logistic regression was conducted to evaluate the influence of gender, cognitive style and need for cognition on participation in strategic and non-strategic games. Our results show that a model with both gender and cognitive variables is more accurate than a model with gender alone. Analytic (vs. intuitive) style, high (vs. low) need for cognition and being male (vs. female) are characteristics of strategic gamblers (vs. non-strategic gamblers). This study highlights the importance of considering the cognitive characteristics of strategic and non-strategic gamblers in order to develop preventive campaigns and treatments that fit the best profiles for gamblers.


Cognitive style; Gambling subtypes; Gender; Need for cognition; Types of games

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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