Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 1397–1406 | Cite as

Implicit Memory Associations and Gambling

  • Gillian E. H. RussellEmail author
  • Robert J. Williams
  • John R. Vokey
Original Paper


Associations that people report in response to words or phrases (‘implicit associations’) may provide information about their interest and engagement in certain activities that might not have been reported if they had been directed asked. The present study investigated the word and behavioural associations reported by 494 university undergraduates to words and phrases that could be construed as having gambling-related connotations. These reported associations were then related to each student’s level of gambling involvement and his or her problem gambling status. Results showed there to be a significant positive relationship between the number of gambling-related memory associations and reported level of gambling involvement as well as problem gambling status. Behaviour associations tended to be stronger than word associations, suggesting that each type of association may tap into a different facet of associative memory. Associations with problem gambling status were also stronger than associations with level of gambling involvement. The results suggest that implicit associations may have utility in both the assessment of problem gambling as well as predicting future gambling involvement.


Implicit associations Cognition Memory Gambling Problem gambling 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

None of the authors have any conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gillian E. H. Russell
    • 1
    Email author
  • Robert J. Williams
    • 2
  • John R. Vokey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of LethbridgeLethbridgeCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of LethbridgeLethbridgeCanada

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