Cognitive functions in Internet addiction – a review

Psychiatr Pol. 2019 Feb 28;53(1):61-79. doi: 10.12740/PP/82194.

[Article in English, Polish]

Cudo A1, Zabielska-Mendyk E1.


The Internet, being generally available, is used by all age groups for professional purposes and also as a form of education and entertainment. It is, however, possible to use the Internet excessively, resulting in an addiction. Internet addiction can be classified as one of the so-called ‘behavioral addictions’, and until recently it has rarely been addressed in scientific publications. It is therefore important to differentiate between normal and pathological Internet use. This paper presents data on the incidence of Internet addiction and reviews the relevant theoretical models. It also discusses the identification of Internet addiction based on diagnostic criteria suggested by the scientific community. The focus of the article is on executive functioning in this type of addiction. Until recently researchers have put it in the context of a personal, social or emotional area, yet it would seem that cognitive functions play a significant role in explaining the development of addiction, with cognitive control and executive functions being particularly important. In addition, knowledge of these mechanisms can contribute to the development of more adequate forms of prevention and treatment.

KEYWORDS: Internet addiction; cognitive function; executive functions

PMID: 31008465

DOI: 10.12740/PP/82194