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The psychology of slots games

ByDave Stopher

Jul 23, 2021 #Gaming

Most of us have played a slots game at some time or other. It may have been in bar or pub to kill a little time, on a cross channel ferry or even in a traditional amusement arcade.

Of course, it may even have been on one of the many online sites like https://www.winkslots.com/ that have become increasingly popular in recent years. This success is down to a various factors that include the sheer number of games on offer, generous welcome bonuses for starting to play and just how enjoyable these games are.

But however, we choose to play on slots, there is always one thing behind the games – the psychology that the developers use to get us to keep on spinning those reels.

So, we’re going to tell you about just some of those techniques, and why they’re so very effective.

Lights, sound, action!

Play any slots game, offline or online, and you’ll find that it has certain features that it shares with all the others in the world. Namely, it provides something of a sensory overload.

There are spinning reels, flashing lights and a soundtrack that seems to rise and fall with the action.

Individually, all these elements have a profound effect on our brains that can have a very strong pull on our emotions. Amongst the feelings that they can generate are anticipation, excitement and pleasure when a spin of the reels results in a win, whatever the size of the payout.

To delve a little deeper, all of these elements have the power to stimulate certain regions of our brain as well as to release a chemical called Dopamine. This is a substance that can control how we feel pleasure, and which is produced as a result of a number of stimuli.

The games developers may not have a degree in neuroscience, but they certainly know which elements to include in games that are going to prove to be trigger its production.

What’s more, once our brains have begun to associate playing slots with an imminent dopamine rush it establishes a link even more closely.

Spinning reels and flashing lights play an important part of the excitement of a slot machine game.

Themes to capture the imagination

This bond becomes even more firmly established when the slots player is engaged in a game whose theme is significant to them. Say, for example, they are big fans of Marvel action movies.

By playing on a game that features Spiderman or The X-Men it will generate even more powerful emotions, as well as an incentive to keep playing. This is especially true if it’s the kind of slot that also has a narrative thread that runs through.

An investment in the characters in the game will mean that the player needs to know how things are going to turn out for them.

Themes don’t even have to be this specific to have a real psychological hook. It could be that someone is fascinated by the pyramids and pharaohs of ancient Egypt – so any slot featuring these elements will be the one that they naturally gravitate towards.

Spinning reels

The physical spinning of the reels is another element that has a key role to play. This is why even online slots, that could work in any way possible, maintain the illusion that there are physical reels coming to a random stop.

Our brains are programmed to recognize movement and associate this with the fact that something will result from it. So as the reels spins and stop in sequence, the player is on tenterhooks to see the outcome. This is a heady mix of excitement and anticipation, combined with a slight feeling of peril too that so many of us find irresistible.

We are also trained from an early age to look out for patterns so when, as adults, we play slots we’re also trying to spot those patterns as we believe that this will help us to predict what may happen next. With the multiple win lines of slots forming a grid pattern each time they come to rest, there is ample stimulation of this kind.

The psychology of winning

Because, despite their random nature, slots games all have the software that can very accurately create regular, small wins this is another element of their appeal. As long as players receive just enough encouragement to keep on playing, they will.

It also seems that, like the pigeons in a famous experiment by psychologist B.F.Skinner, we prefer our rewards to be random rather than predictable. This may sound counterintuitive, but it does seem like the unexpected may also be the spice of life.

The psychology of winning can also help encourage players to play.

A little control is good too

That’s not to say that we don’t also need to feel that we’re in control at least to a minor extent. That’s why most slots have features in which player have to act. This may be in choosing which bonus option to activate or completing a task or challenge to double the winnings available.

In fact, this is becoming an element that more and more slots games are starting to introduce. The theory is that by adding some element of skill the players will become even more invested in the game and in controlling their level of success in it.

So, it very much seems that even though, statistically speaking, the slot always wins we’ll continue to play.

After all, it just takes one lucky spin at the right time to hit the jackpot – and a financial reward that needs no explanation from a psychologist to enjoy!

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