The role of awareness and sense of agency in gambling (Awareness and sense of agency in gambling)
The term "Gambling Addiction" characterises a pathological need to gamble, often with destructive impact on work life, family life, and personal relations. An important component in this illness is due to a lack of ability to control the gambling impulses combined, paradoxically, with a feeling of control over own choices, even sometimes the results of the game. Little is known today of the causes for this predicament, and this project seeks to study the neuropsychological mechanisms forming the basis for this exact aspect of ludomania. The reserachers seek to do this by conducting two interdisciplinary projects, combining psychology, neurology, and mathematical modeling:
Project 1 tests to what extent addicts react more fiercely (in terms of behaviour and brain activity) on unknowingly conveyed information on the result of the game, and to what extent the conflict between the knowingly and unknowingly acquired information affects the final decission, as well as the amount of conflict-related brain activity
Project 2 seeks to better understand to what extent gambling addicts are affected by reward and penalty when reporting the extent of control over own actions and the outcome of the game.
In both studies functional brain imaging is deployed to better study neuropsychological mechanisms that form the foundation for gambling addiction. The outcome of the project will have immense impact on our understanding of the causes for gambling addiction and give rise to new forms of intervention in regards to the illness.