The impact of sound in modern multiline video slot machine play

J Gambl Stud. 2014 Dec;30(4):913-29. doi: 10.1007/s10899-013-9391-8.


Slot machine wins and losses have distinctive, measurable, physiological effects on players. The contributing factors to these effects remain under-explored. We believe that sound is one of these key contributing factors. Sound plays an important role in reinforcement, and thus on arousal level and stress response of players. It is the use of sound for positive reinforcement in particular that we believe influences the player. In the current study, we investigate the role that sound plays in psychophysical responses to slot machine play. A total of 96 gamblers played a slot machine simulator with and without sound being paired with reinforcement. Skin conductance responses and heart rate, as well as subjective judgments about the gambling experience were examined. The results showed that the sound influenced the arousal of participants both psychophysically and psychologically. The sound also influenced players' preferences, with the majority of players preferring to play slot machines that were accompanied by winning sounds. The sounds also caused players to significantly overestimate the number of times they won while playing the slot machine.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods*
  • Adult
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Female
  • Gambling / psychology*
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation / methods*
  • Reinforcement, Psychology*
  • Video Games / psychology*
  • Young Adult