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Psychological journals are peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journals that publish original work in some areas of psychology. The most common publications include cognitive, health and clinical psychology, applied, developmental, biological, social, experimental, and educational psychology, and psychoanalysis.

Behavioral Sciences

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Abstract

Global university rankings have always been associated with international political and economic conflicts. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic there were signs that scientific and academic globalism was breaking down. The pandemic, the various measures taken to combat it, and military and ideological conflicts have led to the breakdown of international academic cooperation, the formation of very different research complexes, and the development of new regional ranking systems.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors:
Mikel Etxandi
,
Isabel Baenas
,
Bernat Mora-Maltas
,
Roser Granero
,
Fernando Fernández-Aranda
,
Sulay Tovar
,
Neus Solé-Morata
,
Ignacio Lucas
,
Sabela Casado
,
Mónica Gómez-Peña
,
Laura Moragas
,
Amparo del Pino-Gutiérrez
,
Javier Tapia
,
Eduardo Valenciano-Mendoza
,
Marc N. Potenza
,
Ashley N. Gearhardt
,
Carlos Diéguez
, and
Susana Jiménez-Murcia

Abstract

Background

Data implicate overlaps in neurobiological pathways involved in appetite regulation and addictive disorders. Despite different neuroendocrine measures having been associated with both gambling disorder (GD) and food addiction (FA), how appetite-regulating hormones may relate to the co-occurrence of both entities remain incompletely understood.

Aims

To compare plasma concentrations of ghrelin, leptin, adiponectin, and liver-expressed antimicrobial peptide 2 (LEAP-2) between patients with GD, with and without FA, and to explore the association between circulating hormonal concentrations and neuropsychological and clinical features in individuals with GD and FA.

Methods

The sample included 297 patients diagnosed with GD (93.6% males). None of the patients with GD had lifetime diagnosis of an eating disorder. FA was evaluated with the Yale Food Addiction Scale 2.0. All patients were assessed through a semi-structured clinical interview and a psychometric battery including neuropsychological tasks. Blood samples to measure hormonal variables and anthropometric variables were also collected.

Results

From the total sample, FA was observed in 23 participants (FA+) (7.7% of the sample, 87% males). When compared participants with and without FA, those with FA+ presented both higher body mass index (BMI) (p < 0.001) and leptin concentrations, after adjusting for BMI (p = 0.013). In patients with FA, leptin concentrations positively correlated with impulsivity, poorer cognitive flexibility, and poorer inhibitory control. Other endocrine measures did not differ between groups.

Discussion and conclusions

The present study implicates leptin in co-occurring GD and FA. Among these patients, leptin concentration has been associated with clinical and neuropsychological features, such as impulsivity and cognitive performance in certain domains.

Open access

Abstract

Social chatbots powered by artificial intelligence (AI) may be particularly appealing to individuals with social deficits or conditions that affect their social functioning. In this letter, we discuss some of the noteworthy characteristics of social chatbots and how they may influence adaptive and maladaptive behaviors, including the potential for ‘dependency’ on chatbots. We call for more independent studies to evaluate the potential developmental and therapeutic effects of this increasingly popular technology.

Open access

Abstract

Background

Whilst some research has explored the impact of COVID-19 on gambling behaviour, little is yet known about online search behaviours for gambling during this period. The current study explored gambling-related online searches before, during and after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. We also assessed whether search trends were related to Gambling Commission behavioural data over the same period.

Methods

Google Trends™ search data, covering thirty months from January 2020 to June 2022, for five gambling activities and five gambling operators were downloaded. Graphical displays of the weekly relative search values over this period were then produced to visualise trends in search terms, with key dates in COVID-19 policy and sporting events highlighted. Cross-correlations between seasonally adjusted monthly search data and behavioural indices were conducted.

Results

Sharp increases in internet searches for poker, slots, and bingo were evident during the first lockdown in the UK, with operator searches sharply decreasing over this period. No changes in gambling activity searches were highlighted during subsequent lockdowns, although small increases in operator-based searches were detected. Strong positive correlations were found between search data and industry data for sports betting and poker but not for slots.

Conclusions

Google Trends™ data may act as an indicator of population-level gambling behaviour. Substitution of preferred gambling activities for others may have occurred during the first lockdown when opportunities for sports betting were limited. Further research is needed to assess the effectiveness of internet search data in predicting gambling-related harm.

Open access

Abstract

Introduction

Considering adverse correlates of problematic use of internet use (PUI), the present study evaluated an intervention aimed at PUI and several putative underpinnings.

Methods

A randomized controlled trial study investigated the efficacy of emotional working memory training (eWMT) in improving impulsivity, risky decision-making, and cognitive emotion-regulation (CER) strategies among individuals with PUI in comparison with a placebo group. Young adults (N = 36) with PUI were either trained for 20 sessions in an n-back dual emotional task (eWMT; n = 18) or a feature-matching task (placebo; n = 18).

Results

Twenty continuous sessions of eWMT significantly improved participants' impulsivity, risky decision-making, CER, internet use and PUI symptoms in the short term, compared to the placebo condition.

Discussion

These preliminary results suggest that eWMT may constitute a promising intervention for PUI and improving cognitive and emotional functioning, and larger, longer studies are warranted.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

Research on the development of gaming disorder assumes that the quality of reinforcement learning as well as the content of use expectancies are initially rewarding in the early stages of the addictive behavior and becomes steadily more compensatory in the later stages. This assumed transition could be reflected in gaming-related mental imagery as well as the decision to play videogames in daily life.

Methods

We recruited 127 individuals who play videogames. Following a strict diagnostic procedure, individuals were either classified as showing casual or at-risk gaming patterns. The experience and expectancy of reward and relief were assessed in the laboratory, followed by a 14-day ambulatory assessment asking for gaming-related mental imagery intensity and playing frequency. Besides group differences, we tested a gratification and a compensation pathway in a structural equation model among groups separately.

Results

Results indicate that mental imagery and playing frequency as well as reinforcement processes and use expectancies are heightened among individuals showing at-risk gaming patterns as compared to casual gaming patterns. Gaming-related mental imagery was only predicted by compensation among individuals showing casual gaming patterns, and we found no significant predictions for daily gaming frequency in any of the models.

Discussion and conclusions

The results implicate that individuals with at-risk gaming patterns might hold stronger learned reinforcement contingencies. Daily usage seems unaffected by these contingencies, possibly indicative of habitualized behaviors. Additionally, the results provide some support for the consideration of imaginal desire thoughts as a specific coping mechanism in the context of gaming behaviors.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors:
Charlotte Eben
,
Beáta Bőthe
,
Damien Brevers
,
Luke Clark
,
Joshua B. Grubbs
,
Robert Heirene
,
Anja Kräplin
,
Karol Lewczuk
,
Lucas Palmer
,
José C. Perales
,
Jan Peters
,
Ruth J. van Holst
, and
Joël Billieux

Abstract

Open science refers to a set of practices that aim to make scientific research more transparent, accessible, and reproducible, including pre-registration of study protocols, sharing of data and materials, the use of transparent research methods, and open access publishing. In this commentary, we describe and evaluate the current state of open science practices in behavioral addiction research. We highlight the specific value of open science practices for the field; discuss recent field-specific meta-scientific reviews that show the adoption of such practices remains in its infancy; address the challenges to engaging with open science; and make recommendations for how researchers, journals, and scientific institutions can work to overcome these challenges and promote high-quality, transparently reported behavioral addiction research. By collaboratively promoting open science practices, the field can create a more sustainable and productive research environment that benefits both the scientific community and society as a whole.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors:
Karina Bernstein
,
Michael Patrick Schaub
,
Harald Baumeister
,
Matthias Berking
,
David Daniel Ebert
, and
Anna-Carlotta Zarski

Abstract

Background and aims

Internet Use Disorders (IUDs) are emerging as a societal challenge. Evidence-based treatment options are scarce. Digital health interventions may be promising to deliver psychological treatment to individuals with IUDs directly in their online setting. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a digital health intervention for IUDs compared to a waitlist control group (WCG).

Methods

In a two-armed randomized controlled trial, N = 130 individuals showing IUDs (Internet Addiction Test; IAT ≥49) were randomly allocated to the intervention group (IG; n = 65) or WCG (n = 65). The intervention consisted of 7 sessions based on cognitive behavioral therapy. The primary outcome was IUD symptom severity measured via the IAT at post treatment 7 weeks after randomization. Secondary outcomes included IUD symptoms (Compulsive Internet Use Scale; CIUS), quality of life, depressive and anxiety symptoms, and other psychosocial variables associated with IUDs.

Results

Participants were on average 28.45 years old (SD = 10.59) and 50% identified as women, 49% as men, and 1% as non-binary. The IG (n = 65) showed significantly less IUD symptom severity (IAT) (d = 0.54, 95% CI 0.19–0.89) and symptoms (d = 0.57, 95% CI 0.22–0.92) than the WCG (n = 65) at post-treatment. Study attrition was 20%. Effects on all other secondary outcomes were not significant. On average, participants completed 67.5% of the intervention.

Discussion and Conclusions

A digital health intervention could be a promising first step to reduce IUD symptom severity.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors:
Melissa M. Norberg
,
Susanne Meares
,
Richard J. Stevenson
,
Jack Tame
,
Gary Wong
,
Paul Aldrich
, and
Jake Olivier

Abstract

Background and aims

The prominent cognitive-behavioral model of hoarding posits that information processing deficits contribute to hoarding disorder. Although individuals with hoarding symptoms consistently self-report attentional and impulsivity difficulties, neuropsychological tests have inconsistently identified impairments. These mixed findings may be the result of using different neuropsychological tests, tests with poor psychometric properties, and/or testing individuals in a context that drastically differs from their own homes.

Methods

One hundred twenty-three participants (hoarding = 63; control = 60) completed neuropsychological tests of sustained attention, focused attention, and response inhibition in cluttered and tidy environments in a counterbalanced order.

Results

Hoarding participants demonstrated poorer sustained attention and response inhibition than the control group (CPT-3 Omission and VST scores) and poorer response inhibition in the cluttered environment than when in the tidy environment (VST scores). CPT-3 Detectability and Commission scores also indicated that hoarding participants had greater difficulty sustaining attention and inhibiting responses than the control group; however, these effect sizes were just below the lowest practically meaningful magnitude. Posthoc exploratory analyses demonstrated that fewer than one-third of hoarding participants demonstrated sustained attention and response inhibition difficulties and that these participants reported greater hoarding severity and greater distress in the cluttered room.

Discussion and conclusions

Given these findings and other studies showing that attentional difficulties may be a transdiagnostic factor for psychopathology, future studies will want to explore whether greater sustained attention and response inhibition difficulties in real life contexts contribute to comorbidity and functional impairment in hoarding disorder.

Open access