‘Rat casino’ shows flashing lights incite risky gambling moves

It finally happened. Researchers have created a “rat casino” model with the aim of studying to what extent flashing lights and music – typically experienced at casinos – encourage risky decision-making. The results form a scientific basis for the lure of the glimmering lights of Vegas. Adding lights and music encouraged gambling rats to choose risky options in a so-called rat casino model. “I often feel that scientific models are decades behind the casinos,” says Catharine Winstanley. “I don’t think it’s an accident that casinos are filled with lights and noise.” Winstanley, associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia in Canada, was part of the team that conducted the study, recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience. She and colleague Michael Barrus, PhD, say…


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