14.07.2020 | Original Paper
The Effect of Skeuomorphic Digital Interfaces on the Illusion of Control over Gambling Outcomes
Journal of Gambling Studies
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The current research focuses on how the use of “skeuomorphs” in digital design interacts with an illusion of control to influence gambling behavior. Skeuomorphism is a design concept in which an aspect of a modern item is made to represent its outdated counterpart, even if this representation serves no functional purpose, such as hands “dealing” cards or horses “racing” on the screen of a digital machine. It is proposed that the inclusion of these non-essential links to physical objects in digital gambling games interacts with a player’s illusion of control over the outcome to influence behavior. Shown across a pretest and three experiments, the inclusion of skeuomorphic elements in the design of gambling games, compared to a minimalistic “flat” design, increases amount gambled. Additionally, skeuomorphism and manipulated illusion of control interact to further increase the amount gambled. The manuscript concludes with a discussion on the practical, theoretical, and policy implications of this research.