A Scoping Review of Cognitive Bias in Internet Addiction and Internet Gaming Disorders (2020)

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jan 6;17(1). pii: E373. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17010373.

Chia DXY1, Zhang MWB1,2.


Internet addiction and Internet gaming disorders are increasingly prevalent. Whilst there has been much focus on the use of conventional psychological approaches in the treatment of individuals with these addictive disorders, there has also been ongoing research exploring the potential of cognitive bias modification amongst individuals with Internet and gaming addiction. Some studies have documented the presence of cognitive biases and the effectiveness of bias modification for Internet addiction and gaming disorders. However, there have not been any reviews that have synthesized the findings related to cognitive biases for Internet addiction and Internet gaming disorders. It is important for us to undertake a scoping review as an attempt to map out the literature for cognitive biases in Internet addiction and gaming disorders. A scoping review was undertaken, and articles were identified using a search through the following databases: PubMed, MEDLINE, and PsycINFO. Six articles were identified. There were differences in the methods of ascertaining whether an individual has an underlying Internet or gaming addiction, as several different instruments have been used. With regards to the characteristics of the cognitive bias assessment task utilized, the most common task used was that of the Stroop task. Of the six identified studies, five have provided evidence documenting the presence of cognitive biases in these disorders. Only one study has examined cognitive bias modification and provided support for its effectiveness. Whilst several studies have provided preliminary findings documenting the presence of cognitive biases in these disorders, there remains a need for further research evaluating the effectiveness of bias modification, as well as the standardization of the diagnostic tools and the task paradigms used in the assessment.

KEYWORDS: attention bias; cognitive bias; internet addiction; internet gaming disorder; psychiatry

PMID: 31935915

DOI: 10.3390/ijerph17010373