Near Misses in Slot Machines

A narrow notch, groove, or opening, as a keyway in a machine or the slit for a coin in a vending machine.

The probability of winning a slot game is determined by a number of factors including the machine’s payout percentage, how much you bet per spin and the symbols used in the game. If you’re a newcomer to gambling, it’s best to start out with low stakes and gradually increase your bet size as you gain experience.

A near miss in a slot machine occurs when feedback for a loss approximates the feeling of a win. Skinner first suggested that near-miss stimuli would reinforce continued play in a slot machine six decades ago, and this theory has been widely accepted in the gambling literature ever since (Bondi & McElroy, 2012).

However, it is important to note that conventional chained procedures that successfully produce conditional reinforcement have a logical predictability between the putative conditional reinforcer and subsequent unconditional reinforcer. Classical slot machines, on the other hand, provide random outcomes with no logical contingency between the occurrence of near-miss stimuli and the subsequent occurrence of a winning outcome.

Several experimental studies have examined the effect of near-misses on gambling persistence. Strickland and Grote (1967) reported that participants who saw more near-miss presentations than far misses tended to continue playing. Reid (1986) attempted two systematic replications of this experiment, and found that on average, participants who persisted despite seeing more near-miss than far miss presentations did not differ from those who opted to continue playing despite having seen a greater proportion of wins than losses.

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