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Liebert, 1991). This conformity behavior occurs even in the presence of contradicting general values and prior learning. For example, children who are honest at home and have honest parents may cheat in school if their friends do. A reasonable hypothesis derived from this research is that, if people are exposed to settings in which people gamble, then behavioral norms (what most people in the situation actually do) will influence their gambling attitudes and behavior.
Exposure to gambling in others has been shown to be correlated with gambling or gambling problems. As discussed in earlier chapters, those who gamble as adults (especially illegally) report that they were exposed to gambling as children (Kallick et al., 1979; Downes et al., 1976). In the study by Kallick et al., people who made illegal bets reported three times the amount of childhood exposure to gambling than those who did not gamble. College students who played the lottery were more likely than those who did not to report that they had friends and parents who gambled. However, biases in retrospective memory seriously compromise these survey results. That is, even if everyone has the same exposure, people who gamble would be much more likely to think about others' gambling, to create cognitive associations with gambling, and to remember their parents' and friends' gambling activities. Pathological gamblers may be more likely to remember their parents as having gambled heavily than others would, even if there were no real differences between the two sets of parents. In effect, unless retrospective surveys are very carefully designed and conducted, they cannot determine whether social influence through exposure plays a causal role in pathological gambling.
Another aspect of the social context of gambling that may influence people's propensity to develop problems with gambling is their practice of gambling in the company of friends or family. For instance, men who frequent the racetrack or who play poker together in the same group may develop (or reinforce) friendships around this activity. Many Americans used to invite one another to their homes for informal card games, sometimes limiting themselves to penny wagers. Elderly people and married women gambled with friends and family in bingo parlors or church basements; in some English communities, the bingo game was