The Science of Sound in Slot Machines: How Music and Noise Affect Our Gameplay

From the more superficial physical appearance of machines to the more intricate mathematics of RTP rates and progressive jackpots, designers utilize a variety of psychological tactics in order to increase customer attraction and subsequent profits for the casino. Near misses are a well-known concept in the world of gambling, but the psychology behind them can surprise many. In slot machines, near misses occur when you get two winning symbols on the active payline, but the third one falls just out of reach. While the average gambler might think it is just bad luck, the truth is it is intentional and designed to keep slot machine players hooked on the games. When you play a slot machine and you see the symbols matching up to a win, the brain releases a dopamine rush.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is triggered in the brain when you experience pleasure — such as when you win. This rush situs wong138 of dopamine helps make the experience of winning a slot machine more enjoyable and keeps us coming back for more. But near misses also have a psychological effect, which is why slot machine design deliberately incorporates them into the game. When a near miss occurs on a slot machine, the player is hit with a wave of frustration. This frustration is actually also associated with dopamine, stimulating the same reward pathways in the brain and making the need to spin the slot machine wheel all the more pressing. In addition to this dopamine response, near misses on a slot machine can also trigger a feeling of hope.

Instead of giving up after one near miss, they will think they are due a win and will try their luck again — this is known as ‘optimism bias’. But the psychological effects of near misses don’t end there. Studies have found that slot machine players tend to overestimate the likelihood of having a near miss. This is known as ‘psychological myopia’ and it represents a cognitive bias that leads players to think they have been close to winning more than they actually have. Overall, the psychology of near misses is used to great effect by slot machine manufacturers. By creating a feeling of frustration, hope and psychological myopia, slot machine design ingeniously keeps players hooked on playing the games.