Cue-induced craving and symptoms of online-buying-shopping disorder interfere with performance on the Iowa Gambling Task modified with online-shopping cues (2019)

Addict Behav. 2019 Apr 15;96:82-88. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.04.008.

Trotzke P1, Starcke K2, Müller A3, Brand M4.



Subjects with buying-shopping disorder (BSD) continue to buy offline as well as online despite negative consequences. Previous studies indicate that subjects with BSD show cue-reactivity and craving when exposed to shopping cues and have problems in long-term advantageous decision-making. The current study aimed at investigating the effect of online-shopping cues on decision-making, and whether addiction-relevant concepts such as cue-reactivity/craving and the symptom severity of BSD are related to decision-making.


A non-clinical sample of 57 participants played a version of the modified Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), with online-shopping-related pictures shown either on the advantageous decks or on the disadvantageous decks (with control pictures on the opposing ones). Symptom severity of online-BSD and the craving to buy were assessed using questionnaires. In addition, the online-shopping pictures were rated concerning arousal, valence, and urge to buy.


The participants who played the IGT with the online-shopping pictures displayed on the disadvantageous decks performed significantly poorer than the other group with online-shopping pictures on the advantageous decks. The between-group differences were moderated by craving reactions and the symptom severity of online-BSD: When online-shopping pictures were displayed on the disadvantageous decks, this only interfered with IGT performance in participants who had high craving reactions towards shopping cues and/or high symptom severity of online-BSD.


Results indicate that exposure to online-shopping cues interferes with advantageous decision-making, especially in individuals with craving reactions and high symptoms of online-BSD. Results contribute to the question of why some people continue to buy despite negative consequences.

KEYWORDS:  Buying addiction; Compulsive buying; Craving; Decision-making; Iowa Gambling Task; Pathological buying

PMID: 31060009

DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.04.008