Spencer Murch

Spencer Murch is a PhD student at UBC’s Cognitive Science program. He is a graduate fellow of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Spencer’s research focuses on the experience of immersion during slot machine gambling. The phenomenon, related to concepts of flow and dissociation, is typically reported as a feeling of being “in the zone” while gambling and is a predictor of problem gambling risk. The goal of his studies, broadly speaking, is to identify meaningful predictors of immersion and problem gambling risk using cognitive tasks and advanced psychophysiological technologies like mobile eye tracking and non-invasive cardiac output.

Ultimately, Spencer hopes to reduce the incidence of gambling disorder associated with modern slot machine use.


Murch, W. S., Chu S. W. M. & Clark, L. (2017). Measuring the slot machine zone with attentional dual tasks and respiratory sinus arrhythmia. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 31(3):375-384. doi: 10.1037/adb0000251

Murch W. S. & Clark L., (2016). Games in the brain: Neural substrates of gambling addiction. The Neuroscientist. 22(5), 534-545. doi: 10.1177/1073858415591474