Deficit in rewarding mechanisms and prefrontal left/right cortical effect in vulnerability for internet addiction

Michela Balconi, Roberta Finocchiaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective The present research explored the cortical correlates of rewarding mechanisms and cortical 'unbalance' effect in internet addiction (IA) vulnerability. Methods Internet Addiction Inventory (IAT) and personality trait (Behavioural Inhibition System, BIS; Behavioural Activation System, BAS) were applied to 28 subjects. Electroencephalographic (EEG, alpha frequency band) and response times (RTs) were registered during a Go-NoGo task execution in response to different online stimuli: gambling videos, videogames or neutral stimuli. Higher-IAT (more than 50 score, with moderate or severe internet addiction) and lower-IAT (<50 score, with no internet addiction). Results Alpha band and RTs were affected by IAT, with significant bias (reduced RTs) for high-IAT in response to gambling videos and videogames; and by BAS, BAS-Reward subscale (BAS-R), since not only higher-IAT, but also BAS and BAS-R values determined an increasing of left prefrontal cortex (PFC) activity (alpha reduction) in response to videogames and gambling stimuli for both Go and NoGo conditions, in addition to decreased RTs for these stimuli categories. Conclusion The increased PFC responsiveness and the lateralisation (left PFC hemisphere) effect in NoGo condition was explained on the basis of a 'rewarding bias' towards more rewarding cues and a deficit in inhibitory control in higher-IAT and higher-BAS subjects. In contrast lower-IAT and lower-BAS predicted a decreased PFC response and increased RTs for NoGo (inhibitory mechanism). These results may support the significance of personality (BAS) and IAT measures for explaining future internet addiction behaviour based on this observed 'vulnerability'.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-285
Number of pages14
JournalActa Neuropsychiatrica
Volume28
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • BAS
  • IAT
  • alpha band
  • gambling
  • internet addiction
  • rewarding mechanism

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