Chasing Rainbows: Strategies For Promoting Future Better Outcomes

Christina I. Anthony , University of Sydney, Australia
Elizabeth Cowley, University of Sydney, Australia
Why do frequent gamblers continue gambling? Is it the thrill and excitement of a win? We propose that instead of enjoying the current outcome, frequent gamblers focus on future outcomes and how those outcomes will be better than the current outcome. In study 1, we demonstrate that frequent gamblers generate mixed counterfactuals. We argue that the upward counterfactuals allow the person to prepare for the future, while downward counterfactuals generate positive affect used to fuel the pursuit of future possibilities. In study 2, we manipulate temporal focus and regulatory focus, and show that mixed counterfactuals are generated when people anticipate future pleasurable outcomes. Finally, in study 3 we provide evidence that mixed counterfactuals cause emotional dilution. Taken together, the studies support the idea that frequent gamblers continue to gamble because they are chasing rainbows.
[ to cite ]:
Christina I. Anthony and Elizabeth Cowley (2010) ,"Chasing Rainbows: Strategies For Promoting Future Better Outcomes", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 161-165 .