Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Anthony DeFulio

Second Advisor

Dr. Scott Gaynor

Third Advisor

Dr. Mikhail Koffarnu

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Cynthia Pietras


Loss chasing, risky choice, prize wheel, temporal stimulus


Loss chasing is a maladaptive pattern of risky behavior in which the frequency of risky behavior temporarily increases after a loss. The conditions under which loss chasing occurs are not well understood. Conditioned reinforcement appears to play a role in loss chasing, but the consideration of antecedent variables is necessary for a complete account. The purpose of this study was to test the role of (1) a stimulus that indicated the number of trials left in the session (i.e., a trial counter), and (2) the effect of the ordinal value of a trial in a risky choice task on loss chasing. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: A trial counter group and a no trial counter group. A total of 63 college students participated in this experiment. Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE) and visual inspection were used to conduct the primary analyses. The two dependent variables were the frequency of spins in the trial following each bankruptcy and the change in number of spins following each bankruptcy. The results of these analyses indicated that the trial counter did not have a statistically significant effect on either dependent measure. Visual inspection of the data indicates that the trial counter may produce a small increase in the change in number of spins following a bankruptcy as the ordinal value of a trial increases. Despite this, other experimental variables and individual differences most likely have a larger effect.


Fifth Advisor: Dr. Alan Poling

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access