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Does Learning About the Mathematics of Gambling Change Gambling Behavior?

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The present research examined the influence of improved knowledge of odds and mathematical expectation on the gambling behavior of university students. A group of 198 students in an introductory statistics class received instruction on probability theory using examples from gambling. A comparison group of 134 students received generic instruction on probability, and another group of 138 students in classes on unrelated topics received no mathematical instruction. Students receiving the intervention demonstrated superior ability to calculate gambling odds as well as resistance to gambling fallacies 6 months after the intervention. Unexpectedly, this improvement in knowledge and skill was not associated with any decreases in actual gambling behavior. The implication of this research is that enhanced mathematical knowledge on its own may be insufficient to change gambling behavior.

Source: “Does Learning About the Mathematics of Gambling Change Gambling Behavior?” from Psychology of Addictive Behaviors

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