It doesn't matter if you are only buying a lottery ticket once a month, or online-gambling, or a problem-gambler. They all add up to the same thing. There is a basic mechanism inside all of us that creates a tendency to enjoy gambling, and pigeons are the best subjects for research studies because they can be trained easily, and their color vision and acuity is similar to a human's.
1. They put hungry pigeons in boxes and trained them, using food as an automatic reward.
2. Then, in another box, they had two options to get their reward. Option one gave 10 pieces of food but only paid out 20 percent of the time, and option two gave 3 pieces of food and paid out 100 percent of the time.
3. They unbelievably and consistently pecked for a big jackpot.
4. It is the same impulsive behavior seen in humans.
5. This should actually be against pigeons' nature. "Evolution should have made them attend to the outcomes,"
6. They suggest that there's a basic biological mechanism involved. This impulsiveness makes people turn into problem-gamblers.
7. And actually, pigeons are even smarter than humans, because they are not impressed by near-hits.