Internet gaming disorder (IGD) is associated with impaired inhibitory control and more impulsive decision-making. However, it remains unclear whether these associations are cross-sectional or predictive. We aimed to test the hypotheses that lower inhibitory control and more impulsive decision-making correlate with, are predicted by and predict more time spent on gaming and higher IGD severity.
A stratified convenience sample of 70 male participants (18–21 years) was recruited to achieve broad data variability for hours spent on gaming and IGD severity. In three annual assessments (T1, T2, T3), we measured gaming behaviour and IGD severity using the Video Game Dependency Scale (CSAS-II). Both gaming-related measures were correlates (T1), predictors (T2), or outcomes (T3) of inhibitory control and decision making, which were assessed at T2 using a go/no-go task and an intertemporal-choice task, respectively.
Higher IGD severity at T1 predicted more impulsive decision-making at T2 (β = 0.45, 95% CI = 0.14–0.76). Lower inhibitory control at T2 predicted more hours spent on gaming at T3 (β = −0.13, 95% CI = −0.25 to −0.02). We found weak or no evidence for the other associations.
Discussion and conclusions
Lower inhibitory control predicts more time spent gaming, possibly due to insufficient top-down regulation of the behaviour. Impulsive decision-making is rather a consequence of IGD than a predictor, which may be due to altered reward learning. One-dimensional etiological assumptions about the relationship between neurocognitive impairments and IGD seem not to be appropriate for the complexity of the disorder.
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.