Being long VXX is like buying a lottery ticket. The odds are stacked against you, and if you play repeatedly you will definitely lose to the house, yet many still buy that ticket because of the dream (emotional trading) which seems so real, especially the more one rehearses it mentally until convinced it will happen. One other factor that keeps people coming back also has a parallel in gambling. There are two main types of reinforcement schedules that have been studied in animal learning and have some application in humans--variable and fixed schedules. A fixed ratio schedule, for example, provided a pellet of food to the white rat after a certain number of lever presses. A variable ratio provides rewards unpredictably, sometimes after two lever presses and other times after 500 presses. The rat (and also humans) reinforced on a variable schedule develop behaviors that is much more resistant to extinction. Extinction is the behavioral learning term for a habit or behavior that has been learned through reinforcement, and then gradually disappears if it is no longer reinforced (Like when one stops paying attention to a toddler throwing tantrums). But much like the player of slots, the VXX (or any stock, ETF, etc) will irrationally keep pulling that lever UNLESS he/she engages logic to overpower the strong habit,which is very compelling at times.