In October 2020, Booth UC announced that Dr. Evan Curtis, Assistant Professor of Psychology, had been awarded a prestigious research grant through the Dr. Edgar and Ynez Smutny Memorial Fund. Dr. Curtis, along with senior psychology student Jessica Curtis, set out to study Predicting Problem Gambling Using Cumulative Prospect Theory.
Six months later, Dr. Curtis presented his findings to the Booth UC community:
Problem gambling is prevalent, affecting between 2-5% of North Americans. Its consequences are wide-reaching and severe, sometimes even leading to bankruptcy and homelessness. There have been extensive efforts to understand problem gambling from the fields of clinical and social psychology, but cognitive science has been relatively silent. My recent research, funded by a grant donated in honour of Dr. Edgar and Ynez Smutny, set out to fill that gap.
The research exposed cognitive distortions that might exist on a fundamental level for problem gamblers. Those distortions can then manifest as harmful and uncontrolled gambling behaviour. The clinical implications are exciting, and I look forward to continuing this research.
My hope for the research is to leverage theories of behavioural economics to inform effective methods of treatment and help the development of early screening tools that can be administered before problem gambling behaviours even begin to manifest.
Watch for an article about Dr. Curtis’s research in the next Connect magazine.