Compromised Prefrontal Cognitive Control Over Emotional Interference in Adolescents with Internet Gaming Disorder (2016)

Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2015 Nov;18(11):661-8. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2015.0231.

Lee J1,2, Lee S2, Chun JW3, Cho H3, Kim DJ3, Jung YC1,2.


Increased reports of impulsivity and aggression in male adolescents with Internet gaming might reflect their dysfunction in emotion regulation, particularly in suppression of negative emotions, which should affect the various stages of Internet gaming disorder. This study tested the hypothesis that adolescents with Internet gaming disorder would be more disturbed by the emotional interference and demonstrate compromised dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) activation during a Stroop Match-to-Sample task. In addition, functional connectivity analysis was conducted to examine the interplays between neural correlates involved in emotional processing and how they were altered in adolescents with Internet gaming disorder.

The Internet gaming disorder group demonstrated weaker dACC activation and stronger insular activations to interfering angry facial stimuli compared with the healthy control group. Negative functional connectivity between stronger insular activation and weaker dorsolateral prefrontal activation correlated with higher cognitive impulsivity in adolescents with Internet gaming disorder. These findings provide evidence of the compromised prefrontal cognitive control over emotional interference in adolescents with Internet gaming disorder.