Sympathetic magic and gambling: Perceptions of luck contagion held by those with low versus high CPGI scores

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Teed, Moira
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University of Guelph

This study assessed differences in perceptions of luck and the utilization of the law of contagion for those with low versus high Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) scores (a sub-index of the Canadian Problem Gambling Index or CPGI). One hundred and twenty-two participants (82 males, 40 females) were assigned to either a positive contagion condition or a negative contagion condition. Participants were observed to see if they acted on the law of contagion by either using a lucky coin holder in the positive contagion condition or avoiding an unlucky coin holder in the negative contagion condition. Open-ended retrospective questioning and surveys were used as supporting measures. It was hypothesized that those higher in the PGSI would act in accordance with the law of contagion more than those with lower scores in both conditions. The hypotheses were partially supported as those with higher scores did act in accordance with the law of contagion more than those with lower scores ('p' < .05), yet this was not the case for those in the negative contagion condition ('p' = .25). A significant interaction was found in the use of the law of contagion, with condition and PGSI scores as independent variables ('p' < .05). These findings may enhance our understanding of the reasoning utilized for those deemed problem gamblers versus non-problem gamblers.

perceptions, luck, law of contagion, Problem Gambling Severity Index, Canadian Problem Gambling Index