The cognitive psychology of lottery gambling: A theoretical review

Paul Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Provides a summary of current research findings and outlines the main cognitive theories of gambling as related to non-pathological lottery play. A discussion of various biases and irrational thinking patterns typically found in lottery gambling is given. These include misunderstanding of lottery odds, a susceptibility to the gambler's fallacy and cognitive entrapment, a belief in hot and cold numbers, unrealistic optimism, a belief in personal luck, superstitious thinking, the illusion of control, the erroneous perception of near misses, a susceptibility to prize size and rollover effects, the framing of gambling outcomes and finally, the influence of social factors on lottery play. It is concluded that the psychology of lottery play needs a more unified theory which whilst largely cognitive in emphasis, should also incorporate social motivations such as those inherent in syndicate-based lottery play. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-134
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Gambling Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 1998

Bibliographical note

Accession Number: 1999-05959-002. PMID: 12766438 Other Journal Title: Journal of Gambling Behavior. Partial author list: First Author & Affiliation: Rogers, Paul; U Hertfordshire, Dept of Psychology, Hatfield, England. Release Date: 19991001. Publication Type: Journal (0100), Peer Reviewed Journal (0110). Format Covered: Print. Document Type: Journal Article. Language: EnglishMajor Descriptor: Cognitive Psychology; Gambling; Irrational Beliefs. Classification: Recreation & Leisure (3740). Population: Human (10). Methodology: Literature Review. Page Count: 24. Issue Publication Date: Sum 1998.


  • biases & irrational thinking patterns in non-pathological lottery playing
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Gambling
  • Irrational Beliefs


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