Michael Wohl

Michael Wohl
Carleton University · Department of Psychology

PhD

About

201
Publications
81,958
Reads
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9,135
Citations
Additional affiliations
July 2003 - present
Carleton University
Position
  • Professor (Full)

Publications

Publications (201)
Article
Full-text available
Social casino games have achieved widespread popularity, and are accessed by more than 85 million people each day. Yet, why people play social casino games is largely unknown. To address this gap, an inductive approach was taken to better understand the motives for playing social casino games, as well as the motives for transitioning from social ca...
Article
In this 28-country study (N = 6112), we assessed how subjective perceptions and objective indicators of wealth were associated with majority group members’ perceptions of realistic threat related to immigration. Subjective wealth was assessed by individuals’ perceptions of their personal wealth (current/anticipated) and of their country´s wealth, w...
Article
Full-text available
U.S.-based research suggests conservatism is linked with less concern about contracting coronavirus and less preventative behaviors to avoid infection. Here, we investigate whether these tendencies are partly attributable to distrust in scientific information, and evaluate whether they generalize outside the U.S., using public data and recruited re...
Article
Full-text available
An increasing number of epidemiologic studies have identified trust as a social determinant of COVID-19 mortality. Trust influences public compliance with policies aimed at containing the pandemic through physical distancing, wearing masks, and vaccine uptake. However, whilst some forms of trust are public assets (e.g., trust in government), others...
Article
The current study examined the emotional and cognitive evaluations as well as the perceived efficacy of fear-based, text-only pop-up messages. The pop-up messages were presented when viewing a 3-minute pre-recorded video of an online roulette play. Fifty-nine people who gamble online viewed both low- and high-threat messages that reflected, by rand...
Article
Full-text available
In the Pathways Model, there are three distinct etiological subtypes of disordered gambling (Behaviourally Conditioned, Emotionally Vulnerable, and Anti-Social Impulsive Risk-Taker). The Pathways Model also posits that erroneous gambling beliefs are a maintenance factor of disordered gambling across the subtypes. Yet, etiological factors and errone...
Article
Full-text available
This study examined online gambling behavior during COVID-19 land-based gambling restrictions and associations with changes in mental health, impacts on household income due to the pandemic, financially focused motivations, and symptoms of gambling problems. A repeated online survey was administered to adult gamblers in Ontario, Canada. Wave 1 was...
Article
Full-text available
People experience “collective autonomy restriction” when they believe other groups want to restrict their own group from freely expressing its social identity and determining its behavior. We review emerging research on the negative consequences of collective autonomy restriction for well-being, as well as its implications for group members' motiva...
Article
Coniglio, Cooper, and Selby proposed that behavioral reinforcement may be critical for understanding the etiology and maintenance of pathological exercise among people living with anorexia nervosa. They presented three competing hypotheses about why exercise can become problematic: (a) positive reinforcement via biological and behavioral rewards, (...
Article
Full-text available
Background and aims Perfectionism, a focused self-concept, and erroneous beliefs have been implicated in the development and maintenance of various disordered behaviors. However, researchers have yet to examine how these factors combine to explain different disordered behaviors. Herein, we addressed this gap and hypothesized a moderated-mediation m...
Article
Full-text available
Persons maintaining a financially focused self-concept view financial success as a core aspect of their respective self-concepts. Herein, we examined whether the measurement properties of the financially focused self-concept scale (FFS) are invariant over time. A sample of predominantly older community members who gamble (N = 147) completed the 4-i...
Article
Self-forgiveness is typically understood as a process that prevents continued engagement in negative behavior. However, it can also have a dark side in that it can lead to continuing that negative behavior. In the current research, we examined self-forgiveness in the domain of overspending—a potentially self-harming behavior. We tested whether self...
Article
Full-text available
A growing body of evidence suggests that support for a strong non-democratic leader is driven, in part, by low economic development and economic inequality at the country level, and low income and interpersonal trust at the individual level. In the current research, we tested the hypothesis that although such a pattern predicts support for a strong...
Preprint
Full-text available
U.S.-based research suggests conservatism is linked with less concern about contracting coronavirus and less preventative behaviors to avoid infection. Here, we investigate whether these tendencies are partly attributable to distrust in scientific information, and evaluate whether they generalize outside the U.S., using public data and recruited re...
Article
Full-text available
E. J. Langer's paper, 'The illusion of control' (1975), showed that people act in ways that suggest they hold illusory beliefs in their ability to control the outcome of chance-determined games. This highly cited paper influenced the emerging field of gambling studies, and became a building block for cognitive approaches to problem gambling. Over t...
Article
Full-text available
Background and aims: Casino loyalty programs are marketing strategies designed to foster attitudinal (i.e., identification and satisfaction) and behavioral (i.e., spending) loyalty among gamblers by offering rewards to members. Casino loyalty programs use a tier-based structure to segment members who spend more money into higher tiers, where they...
Article
The racial demographic shift occurring in many Western countries provides a unique context to study the reactions of a high-power group (White people) to the potential loss of their privileged position in society. Three experiments ( N = 77, N = 302, N = 555) conducted in Canada, the US, and the UK showed that White people who are reminded about th...
Poster
Full-text available
The present research explored whether people in recovery from an eating disorder (ED) engage in nostalgic reverie for their past disordered eating (e.g., receiving compliments on thin appearance) and whether such nostalgizing is related to recovery and relapse. Critically, nostalgia has yet to be meaningfully incorporated into theories of EDs. For...
Article
Full-text available
Many video games incorporate gambling-like elements into their design (and vice versa). Social casino games—a type of video game that mimics gambling activities—are one such example. In the current experimental research, we examined whether offering tangible rewards (i.e., rewards with value outside the game) in a social casino game was associated...
Article
Full-text available
There is evidence that democracies are under threat around the world while the quest for strong leaders is increasing. Although the causes of these developments are complex and multifaceted, here we focus on one factor: the extent to which citizens express materialist and post-materialist concerns. We explore whether objective higher levels of demo...
Article
Full-text available
The idea of heritability may have consequences for individuals’ sense of self by connecting identity to the actions of others who happen to share genetic ties. Across seven experimental studies (total N = 2,628), recalling morally bad or good actions by family members influenced individuals’ moral self among those who endorse a lay belief that mora...
Article
Full-text available
Collective nostalgia is a bittersweet emotion that reflects sentimental longing for valued aspects of the past of one’s group. Given that conservatism is typically associated with a general desire to preserve the societal status quo or return society to its traditional way of being, nostalgia has been theorized to be characteristic of those on the...
Article
We examined the idea that endorsement of state-level restrictive language policies can be understood as an ingroup-preserving behaviour driven by majority group members’ experiences of linguistic-based collective angst (i.e., concern about the future vitality of the ingroup’s language). We did so in the context of legislative reform aimed to enforc...
Preprint
The idea of heritability may have consequences for individuals’ sense of self by connecting identity to the actions of others who happen to share genetic ties. Across seven experimental studies (total N=2,628), recalling morally bad or good actions by family members influenced individuals’ moral self among those who endorse a lay belief that moral...
Article
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered the closure of licensed casinos throughout the United States of America in March and April 2020. This study sought to examine how Americans who gamble responded to the COVID-19 lockdown, including migration to online gambling, and changes in substance use and use of other technologies. On April 9, 2020, we recruited...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose of Review People can place preponderant importance on a single life domain (e.g., relationships, appearance, financial success). The result is that success (or failure) in that domain has significant influence on the self-concept and thus judgments of self-worth. A focused self-concept has also been shown to be a core feature of various psy...
Article
An emerging literature suggests that the success of social movements dependent, partly, on its ability to garner support from third‐party groups. One factor that appears to predict support is the social movement’s use of non‐violent (compared to violent) strategies to achieve its goals. However, this literature is not definitive. Herein, we report...
Article
Having a self-concept that is focused on a single life domain has been implicated in various emotional and behavioral disorders, including depression, body image disorders, and obsessive-compulsive and related disorders. Herein, we extended research on having a focused self-concept by testing the idea that a self-concept focused on financial succes...
Preprint
Full-text available
People with a financially focused self-concept overvalue the importance of financial success for self-definition and self-worth. Herein, we examined whether the measurement properties of the financially focused self-concept scale (FFS) are invariant over time and across different demographic groups of people who gamble. We also assessed the tempora...
Article
Two studies tested the idea that perceived normalization of radical political ideologies (right and left) reduces support for freedom of speech of the opponents and political tolerance. In Study 1 ( N = 633), Americans were primed with the normalization of the radical right or left. Primed with the normalization of radical outgroup ideologies, both...
Article
There is substantial cross-national variation in the damage caused by COVID-19 and scant evidence on social and cultural factors that contribute to this variation. Our ecologic study of country differences in COVID-19 mortality found that deaths have increased faster in societies that had less confidence in state institutions and less civic engagem...
Article
Across four studies, we tested whether the content of collective nostalgia has untapped utility for understanding intergroup relations. In Study 1a, we demonstrated variance in the content of the nostalgizing American Christians report—variance that influenced attitudes towards outgroups. Participants who reported longing for a more open society ex...
Article
Social casino games (i.e., online, free to play casino-like games) share many similar visual, auditory and structural game mechanics as gambling games. Given the similarities between the two activities, it is not uncommon for people to migrate from social casino gaming to gambling or vice versa. In the current work, we investigated whether motives...
Article
Can social contextual factors explain international differences in the spread of COVID-19? It is widely assumed that social cohesion, public confidence in government sources of health information and general concern for the welfare of others support health advisories during a pandemic and save lives. We tested this assumption through a time-series...
Article
In this article, we summarize recent research on collective angst (i.e., concern for one’s group’s future vitality) and collective nostalgia (i.e., sentimental longing for the in-group’s past) and emphasize their interconnections and predictive utility. We also put forth the supposition that the source of the collective angst that group members are...
Article
Full-text available
At present, the dominant motivational strategy to facilitate behavior change among those living with addiction is to focus one’s attention on the better possible future that may result from cutting down or cessation. However, research is now emerging that suggests nostalgic reverie (i.e., sentimental longing) for life lived before addiction can als...
Preprint
Objective. The COVID-19 pandemic triggered the closure of licensed casinos throughout North America in Spring 2020. This study sought to examine how gamblers responded to the COVID-19 lockdown, including migration to online gambling, and changes in substance use and use of other technologies. Method. We conducted an online cross-sectional study of...
Chapter
This chapter presents an integrated model of psychological needs among victimized groups, building on self-determination theory. Extending the model of needs-based reconciliation and other work on needs among victim groups, the authors posit that collective victimization frustrates basic needs for relatedness, competence, and autonomy. They review...
Article
Full-text available
Diverse funding sources, including the government, nonprofit, and industry sectors support academic research, generally, and gambling research, specifically. This funding allows academic researchers to assess gambling-related problems in populations, evaluate tools designed to encourage responsible gambling behaviors, and develop evidence-based rec...
Article
In three experiments, we tested whether LGBTQ+ individuals experience greater psychological well-being when they feel other groups support (versus restrict) their community's collective autonomy to express its social identity. LGBTQ+ individuals recruited from a Canadian city (Experiment 1a, N=114), and nationally from the United States (Experiment...
Preprint
In three experiments, we tested whether LGBTQ+ individuals experience greater psychological well-being when they feel other groups support (versus restrict) their community's collective autonomy to express its social identity. LGBTQ+ individuals recruited from a Canadian city (Experiment 1a), and nationally from the United States (Experiment 1b), r...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic represents a massive global health crisis. Because the crisis requires large-scale behaviour change and places significant psychological burdens on individuals, insights from the social and behavioural sciences can be used to help align human behaviour with the recommendations of epidemiologists and public health experts. Here...
Preprint
Full-text available
We tested the hypothesis that perceived existential threat of COVID-19 elicits anxious arousal, which can manifest in prejudice toward the perceived source of the threat (Chinese people). Americans (n = 474) were randomly assigned to an experimental condition in which COVID-19 was framed as an existential threat to the United States or a non-existe...
Preprint
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic represents a massive, global health crisis. Because the crisis requires large-scale behavior change and poses significant psychological burdens on individuals, insights from the social and behavioural sciences are critical for optimizing pandemic response. Here we review relevant research from a diversity of research areas rel...
Article
The Positive Play Scale (PPS) is a self-report measure that assesses responsible gambling beliefs and behaviors amongst players. The PPS was shown to be a reliable and valid measure that consisted of four subscales: Personal Responsibility, Gambling Literacy, Honesty and Control, and Pre-commitment. However, the PPS development research had limitat...
Article
Here, we integrate two influential psychological theories: social-identity theory and self-determination theory. Whereas social-identity theory considers how social identities impact the self, self-determination theory elucidates the psychological necessity of feeling related, competent, and autonomous. In this article, we outline and provide justi...
Article
Societal inequality has been found to harm the mental and physical health of its members and undermine overall social cohesion. Here, we tested the hypothesis that economic inequality is associated with a wish for a strong leader in a study involving 28 countries from five continents (Study 1, N = 6,112), a study involving an Australian community s...
Article
Public apologies struggle to communicate genuineness. Previous studies have shown that, in response to public apologies, perceptions of remorse and levels of forgiveness are often low, while skepticism about motive is high. Furthermore, attempts to reduce mistrust of public apologies by manipulating the verbal component of the message have had limi...
Article
Full-text available
Background and aims: In the present research, we experimentally investigated whether the experience of winning (i.e., inflated payout rates) in a social casino game influenced social casino gamers' subsequent decision to gamble for money. Furthermore, we assessed whether facets of dispositional impulsivity - negative and positive urgency in partic...
Article
The current research tested the idea that monetary limit adherence is upregulated by informing players how much money and credits they lost gambling when their limit was reached. In Study 1, players (N = 124) at a local gambling venue gambled on a virtual Electronic Gaming Machine (EGM) with a pre-determined money limit. By way of a pop-up message,...
Article
Full-text available
Although victimized groups have a need to recover diminished power, perpetrator groups are often reluctant to support actions that may undermine their own systemic advantages. We hypothesized that perpetrator group members’ experience of empathetic collective angst—a group-based emotion focused on concern for the future vitality of an outgroup—medi...
Article
Responsible gambling (RG) tools that guide electronic gaming machine (EGM) players to set a pre-set money limit on their gambling expenditures are known to reduce excessive gambling. However, not all EGM players who use a limit-setting RG tool will adhere to their limit. We hypothesized that limit adherence is facilitated by informing players that...
Article
Full-text available
Educating gamblers about responsible gambling (RG) practices (e.g. setting and adhering to a pre-set money limit) plays a central role in minimizing the harms associated with electronic gaming machine (EGM) play. However, little is known about when such educational information is best presented. Herein, using the principle of active learning, we te...
Chapter
In this chapter, the authors put forth the proposition that group-based emotions reside at the core of extreme intergroup violence. That is, genocide is not cold; it is cruelly heartfelt. Perpetrator groups act because of specific (perceived or real) threat-induced, group-based emotions, which motivate specific destructive action tendencies. The au...
Article
People differ in the extent to which they focus on their personal future, past, or present. Across four studies (using both correlation and experimental designs), we explore whether people also have a temporal orientation when thinking about the social groups to which they belong (i.e., their in‐group). In Studies 1–3, participants’ personal tempor...
Article
Collective nostalgia for the good old days of the country thrives across the world. However, little is known about the social psychological dynamics of this collective emotion across cultures. We predicted that collective nostalgia is triggered by collective angst as it helps people to restore a sense of in-group continuity via stronger in-group be...
Article
Ghrelin, a peptide hormone associated with appetite, is also linked to increased reward seeking behaviors, including food, sex, and drug seeking behaviors through the stimulation of the mesolimbic dopaminergic system. Moreover, plasma ghrelin concentrations are increased by cues that predict rewards, suggesting that cues could facilitate cravings a...
Article
Full-text available
Relative deprivation (RD) is the judgment that one or one’s ingroup is worse off compared with some relevant standard coupled with feelings of dissatisfaction, anger, and resentment. RD predicts a wide range of outcomes, but it is unclear whether this relationship is moderated by national cultural differences. Therefore, in the first study, we used...
Article
Full-text available
The field of gambling studies has been remarkably silent on loyalty programmes in the gambling industry. This article reviews the scant empirical literature, with an aim to stimulate discussion and research about the impact of loyalty programme membership on players. Preliminary evidence suggests that disordered gamblers are more apt to join a loya...
Article
Full-text available
Perfectionism has been implicated in several psychiatric disorders, including eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and depression. In the current research, we extended the analysis of perfectionism to understand disordered gambling. Unlike other life domains in which people with perfectionistic tendencies can objectively control outcomes (e.g., die...
Article
Background Previous research has found that area-level income inequality and individual-level relative deprivation both contribute to disordered gambling in adults. However, the socioeconomic factors that contribute to disordered gambling in youths and protective factors in their social environment have not been fully explored. This study examined...
Article
A careful look at societies facing threat reveals a unique phenomenon in which liberals and conservatives react emotionally and attitudinally in a similar manner, rallying around the conservative flag. Previous research suggests that this rally effect is the result of liberals shifting in their attitudes and emotional responses toward the conservat...
Article
Despite the low rate of behavior change among those engaged in addictive behaviors, some people can and do initiate change. We propose that attempting to self-regulate addictive behavior is a function of motivation and the belief that behavior is malleable. Specifically, feeling self-discontinuous (i.e., feeling that addiction has fundamentally cha...
Article
Full-text available
Background and Aims: We examined the potential role religious beliefs may play in disordered gambling. Specifically, we tested the idea that religiosity primes people to place their faith in good fortune or a higher power. In the context of gambling, however, this may lead to gambling fallacies (e.g., erroneous beliefs that one has control over a r...
Article
Full-text available
Most people in need of behavior change do not take action. Moreover, it has proven difficult to motivate people to engage in behavior change. In two longitudinal experiments, among people living with addiction, we tested a heretofore unexamined route to motivating behavior change— heightening a person’s sense that their addictive behavior has funda...