Creative Research Medal 2012
Adam Goodie, associate professor of psychology, studies pathological gambling and the cognitive processes, decision-making and personality characteristics associated with this dangerous condition that affects millions of Americans. Goodie discovered that the likelihood for one to gamble does not depend entirely on objective probabilities or how the individual perceives them, but on whether the individual perceives they can control the probabilities. Goodie developed an instrument for studying this called the Georgia Gambling Task (GGT), in which study participants answer trivia questions, indicate the likelihood that their answer is correct, and decide whether to accept bets on their answers. In his studies of active gamblers, pathological gamblers were willing to bet regardless of their level of control over the game, whereas nonpathological gamblers only bet when they actually had control. This leads to the suggestion that pathological gamblers are more easily convinced that they are in control of the game when in fact they are not.