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Loss-chasing, alexithymia, and impulsivity in a gambling task: alexithymia as a precursor to loss-chasing behavior when gambling

Bibby, Peter A.


Peter A. Bibby


Objective: To examine the relationship between loss-chasing, the propensity to continue gambling to recover from losses, alexithymia, a personality trait associated poor emotional processing and impulsivity, the tendency to act quickly without reflection or consideration of the consequences.

Method: Two experiments are reported (E1: N = 60, Males, 11; Age, 21.6 years. E2: N = 49, Males, 22; Age, 21.1 years). In experiment 1, two groups (low alexithymia, high alexithymia) completed the Cambridge Gambling Task (CGT). Loss-chasing behavior was investigated. In experiment 2, both alexithymia (low, high) and impulsivity (low, high) were examined also using the CGT. A further change was the order of bet proportion from ascending to descending.

Results: Experiment 1 shows loss-chasing behavior in participants high in alexithymia but not those low in alexithymia (ηp2 = 0.09). Experiment 2 shows loss-chasing behavior in participants both low and high in alexithymia but it was greater for participants high in alexithymia (ηp2 = 0.09). The effect of impulsivity was not statistically significant (ηp2 = 0.01). Loss-chasing behavior was correlated with the emotional facets of alexithymia but not the cognitive facet.

Conclusions: Alexithymia is a precursor to loss-chasing when gambling and loss-chasing reflects the cognitive and emotional aspects of gambling. Specifically, the tendency to loss-chase depends on the need to recoup previous losses and failure to process the emotional consequences of those losses


Bibby, P. A. (2016). Loss-chasing, alexithymia, and impulsivity in a gambling task: alexithymia as a precursor to loss-chasing behavior when gambling. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, Article 3.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 20, 2016
Deposit Date Apr 1, 2016
Publicly Available Date Apr 1, 2016
Journal Frontiers in Psychology
Electronic ISSN 1664-1078
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Article Number 3
Keywords loss-chasing, alexithymia, impulsivity, gambling
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This Document is Protected by copyright and was first published by Frontiers. All rights reserved. It is reproduced with permission


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