ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2018, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (9): 1689-1699.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2018.01689

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The near-miss effect in gambling games

SUO Tao1,**(), YANG Yan2, FAN Zeng1, WANG Mengmeng1, ZHAO Guoxiang1,*()   

  1. 1 Institute of Psychology and Behavior, Institute of cognition, Brain and Health, College of Education and Science, Henan University
    2 School of Economics, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, China
  • Received:2017-09-22 Online:2018-09-15 Published:2018-07-30
  • Contact: Tao SUO,Guoxiang ZHAO;


The near-miss effect refers to a phenomenon that near-miss losses can elicit individuals’ higher physiological arousal and stronger gambling motivation than full-miss losses and winnings, which could lead to gambling persistence of gamblers. Researches on the near-miss effect have important theoretical value for understanding the cognitive and neural mechanisms of dynamic outcome evaluation in decision-making processes and shedding light on the mechanisms of pathological gambling. Studies have found convergent evidence that near-miss losses have motivationally enhancing properties. However, the cognitive and neural mechanisms of the near-miss effect are still under debate. In addition, the role that the near-miss effect played in pathological gambling is still unclear. At present, there are three main theoretical explanations for the near-miss effect: the cognitive misrepresentation hypothesis, the illusion of control theory, and the frustration hypothesis. The neural correlates of the near-miss effect mainly involve the insula and ventral striatum. Future researches should further explore the theoretical models of the near-miss effect, improve the experimental paradigm, various research methods, and examine the effect in pathological populations.

Key words: near-miss effect, the cognitive misrepresentation hypothesis, the illusion of control theory, the frustration hypothesis, insula, ventral striatum

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