Cognitive Dissonance Among Chinese Gamblers: Cultural Beliefs Versus Gambling Behavior

Authors: Robert J. Taormina & Blair K. H. Chong, University of Macau, China
Published: December 2015

Citation: Taormina, R. J., & Chong, B. K. H. (2015). Cognitive Dissonance Among Chinese Gamblers: Cultural Beliefs Versus Gambling Behavior. IAFOR Journal of Psychology & the Behavioral Sciences, 1(1).


This study examined the extent to which cognitive dissonance exists among Chinese gamblers as a consequence of gambling while holding negative attitudes toward gambling, which are inherent in China’s traditional cultural values. Using the behavioral variable of actual gambling and an attitudinal variable of negative beliefs about gambling, a third, practical measure of cognitive dissonance was developed. By using questionnaires completed by 200 adult Chinese respondents, these measures were examined in relation to a set of relevant independent variables frequently tested in the gambling literature. Cognitive dissonance was expected to have significant negative correlations with traditional Chinese values and family support, and a significant positive correlation with neuroticism. Cognitive dissonance was also expected to be negatively correlated with two personal outcomes, i.e. self-actualization and life satisfaction. The results supported these hypotheses, which confirmed the validity of the new measures, and that cognitive dissonance does indeed exist among Chinese gamblers. The results also found that Chinese gamblers, even though they do gamble, also hold negative attitudes toward gambling, with more cognitive dissonance strongly associated with higher levels of gambling. This provides a new perspective on studying Chinese gambling, and offers a possible strategy to help pathological gamblers, for example, by advising them that their negative beliefs about gambling reflect the positive moral values of their society’s traditional culture, an approach that may be effective in reducing excessive gambling.


cognitive dissonance, Chinese, culture, gambling, traditional values