Although the Internet has provided convenience and efficiency in many areas of everyday life, problems stemming from Internet use have also been identified, such as Internet gaming disorder (IGD). Internet addiction, which includes IGD, can be viewed as a behavioral addiction or impulse control disorder. This study investigated the altered functional and effective connectivity of the core brain networks in individuals with IGD compared to healthy controls (HCs).
Forty-five adults with IGD and 45 HCs were included in this study. To examine the brain networks related to personality traits that influence problematic online gaming, the left and right central executive network (CEN) and the salience network (SN) were included in the analysis. Also, to examine changes in major brain network topographies, we analyzed the default mode network (DMN).
IGD participants showed lower functional connectivity between the dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and other regions in the CEN than HC participants during resting state. Also, IGD participants revealed reduced functional connectivity between the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and other regions in the SN and lower functional connectivity in the medial prefrontal cortex of the anterior DMN. Notably, in IGD individuals but not HC individuals, there was a positive correlation between IGD severity and effective connectivity and a positive correlation between reward sensitivity and effective connectivity within the ventral striatum of the SN.
Problematic online gaming was associated with neurofunctional alterations, impairing the capacity of core brain networks.
Problematic Internet game use is an important social issue that increases social expenditures for both individuals and nations. This study identified predictors and patterns of problematic Internet game use.
Data were collected from online surveys between November 26 and December 26, 2014. We identified 3,881 Internet game users from a total of 5,003 respondents. A total of 511 participants were assigned to the problematic Internet game user group according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Internet gaming disorder criteria. From the remaining 3,370 participants, we used propensity score matching to develop a normal comparison group of 511 participants. In all, 1,022 participants were analyzed using the chi-square automatic interaction detector (CHAID) algorithm.
According to the CHAID algorithm, six important predictors were found: gaming costs (50%), average weekday gaming time (23%), offline Internet gaming community meeting attendance (13%), average weekend and holiday gaming time (7%), marital status (4%), and self-perceptions of addiction to Internet game use (3%). In addition, three patterns out of six classification rules were explored: cost-consuming, socializing, and solitary gamers.
This study provides direction for future work on the screening of problematic Internet game use in adults.
Although Internet gaming disorder (IGD) has been investigated in detail, minimal research has been conducted regarding the influence of different game genres on IGD. The aim of this study is to compare the characteristics of members of game genre-specific groups with IGD and to identify factors associated with IGD status in each group in a large sample of adults.
Internet games were categorized into four genres: real-time strategy games, massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG), sport games, and first-person shooter (FPS) games. Participants (n = 2,923) who usually played one of these games completed an anonymous online survey that collected sociodemographic, game usage pattern, and psychopathological assessment data.
MMORPG and FPS game players more frequently met the criteria for IGD than participants in the other two groups. Differences between the IGD-suspected gamers within the genre-specific groups were observed for a few items, such as average game-playing time and the subscales of the behavioral activation system; however, the factors that contributed to the development of IGD within each game genre-specific group were found to be considerably different.
Discussion and conclusions
The findings of this study suggest that IGD is a stable psychiatric diagnosis encompassing users of a broad range of game genres. In addition, the development of strategies for the prevention of and early intervention on individuals at high risk for developing IGD may require consideration of the distinct characteristics identified as effective predictors of IGD in users of each game genre.