The Loh Down On Science

Kinder-Gambling

Is there a link between impulsive kindergartners and compulsive gamblers? You bet!

Problem gambling and kindergarten--is there a link?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Saying, you bet your bottom dollar there is!

Meet Linda Pagani, from the University of Montreal. She wondered if one's early childhood demeanor could hold clues to one's future poker-playing proclivities.

To find out, she took a gamble, and focused on one particular trait: impulsiveness.

She had kindergarten teachers score their students' inattentiveness, distractibility, and hyperactivity over the school year. Psychologists use the relative degree of each factor to produce a reliable measure of impulsivity.

A full six years later, Pagani interviewed these same children, and their parents, about the now-11-year-olds' gambling habits: Did they play video games for money? Bet on the outcome of schoolyard brawls?

She hit the jackpot. The most unfocused and uncontrollable munchkins did indeed become the Highest Rollers later on.

Every 10 percent increase in impulsivity led to a 25 percent increase in pre-adolescent gambling.

I don't know. For me, that's what made sixth grade fun!

The gambling! I would say more, but what happens in sixth grade stays in sixth grade.


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