Although the term “addiction” can be used in many different ways by people, as a rule, most often they mean an obsessive form of behavior, which at best does not bring any benefit, and at worst – poses a threat to the lives of the person himself and even those around him. The most striking and familiar, perhaps, every example of addiction is dependence on the intake of certain chemicals, in particular, alcohol, nicotine, or heroin. As soon as a person stops using them, he begins to experience painful, exhausting sensations. At the same time, addiction is not only chemical: now psychologists describe with this term those types of behavior in which a person does not take anything inside. One of them is gambling addiction – addiction to gambling.
Addiction to gambling
Countless people these days – and with them, their families – suffer from the inability to stop gambling. These people lose all their savings, take loans, then get into even bigger debts … and when there is no one else to borrow, gamblers resort to theft. Alas, in the end, the circle closes again: in a desperate hope to get out of the credit hole, to save themselves and their family from ruin, gamblers also lose what they stole. Why does it happen? Psychologists have found that at first gambling addicts experience very sharp and pleasant sensations every time they win something (and this prompts them to play again and again), and then they play, because they no longer see another opportunity to get out of debt. However, despite the fact that gambling addiction is destructive, in many countries gambling is legalized in the form of casinos and state lotteries like live online casino Malaysia. This allows officials to regularly replenish the state treasury and thereby not increase existing taxes for fewer gambling citizens.
Is it wise to compare video games to gambling?
Many ordinary people today are firmly convinced that video games and gambling are absolutely identical. And this is not surprising: if you are superficially familiar with video games, at first glance, they really do not differ in any way from machines in a casino. But it is worth digging deeper, as we can easily discover a fundamental, essential difference. First, gambling, unlike video games, is a purely probabilistic game. They are designed in such a way that in the long term you will always lose, but in the short term, you will sometimes win. The random nature of the reward, in turn, causes in a person what is called operant conditioning in psychology. In short, since the player does not know exactly when he will win, he has a vicious circle of thoughts: “The next time I press the lever, I will definitely win the jackpot” – the gambler thinks and presses the lever “one more time”, then “ one more “, and” one more time “, and so on. As we wrote earlier, here we are dealing with a very real cognitive distortion, which consists of a fundamental misunderstanding by the human mind of the fact that with each game the probability of winning remains negligible, and does not increase. Unlike gambling, video games are games of skill. In this, they resemble chess, in which success also depends solely on the player’s perseverance, intellectual ability, and practice. Simple probability does not solve anything here: the victory must be earned. It takes a lot of effort to move to the next level. In addition, awards for winning in video games, as well as, for example, in chess, are purely virtual (with the exception of e-sports tournaments, but that’s a completely different story). Unlike gambling, in video games, winning does not in any way increase the player’s money savings in real life; also does not affect their number and defeat. That is why, from the point of view of scientific psychology, video games are more like virtual chess than slot machines.
Physiology and video games
Earlier, in an article on the reasons for the love of video games, we wrote that physiology, in particular, the hormone of joy dopamine, is involved in its formation, among other things. Moreover, as studies of the human brain show, the so-called. “Pleasure centers” are activated both when the gambler wins the jackpot, and when the gamer reaches some goal in the game.
Is there a video game addiction?
In order to answer it as unambiguously as possible, we turn to the American DSM ( Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders ), a diagnostic and statistical manual for mental disorders – in fact, a list adopted in psychology and psychiatry of mental illnesses. This list is compiled and revised from time to time by entire states of psychologists and psychiatrists. So, after a thorough study of scientific data, several years ago, scientists decided not to add such a concept as “video game addiction” to the new edition of the manual, despite the pressure from those people who consider video games to be a real evil. At the same time, gambling addiction is present in the new edition. Thus, from the point of view of scientific psychology, there is currently no reason to believe that there is anything in common between gambling and video games.