What keeps people glued to gambling machines?  

Natasha Schull, Assistant Professor in the School's Science, Technology, and  Society Program, began observing people in Las Vegas in the 1990s, noticing that they were transfixed for hours at video poker and slot machines. What, she wondered, kept them glued to machines until they lost all they had to lose. After more than a decade of research that included lengthy observations and interviews focused on gambling machines, Schull is publishing her conclusions on how closely guarded, proprietary mathematical algorithms and immersive, interactive technology are used to keep people gambling until they—in the industry jargon—"play to extinction."