Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2019 Jul 24;95:109717. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2019.109717.
Although internet gaming disorder (IGD) is considered an addictive disorder, evidence of the neurobiological underpinnings of IGD as an addictive disorder is currently lacking. We investigated whether attentional bias toward game-related stimuli was altered in IGD patients using an eye-tracking method during an anti-saccade task.
Twenty-three IGD patients and 27 healthy control (HC) subjects participated in the anti-saccade task with game-related, neutral, and scrambled images during eye tracking. Participants rated subjective scores of valence, arousal, and craving for each image stimulus after finishing eye tracking. Mixed design analysis of variance was performed to compare the differences between eye movement latency and error rate in the pro-saccade and anti-saccade conditions according to image type across the IGD and HC groups.
In the anti-saccade task, the IGD group exhibited higher error rates in the case of game-related images than in neutral or scrambled images. However, ratings on valence, arousal, and craving did not vary among image types. The error rates of the HCs did not vary across image types, but higher arousal/craving and lower valence were reported with respect to the game-related images.
Increased error rate during anti-saccade tasks with game-related stimuli in IGD may be due to disabilities in goal-directed behavior or inhibitory control, as observed in other addictive disorders. These findings suggest that attentional bias toward game-related stimuli can be a sensitive biological marker of IGD as an addictive disorder.
KEYWORDS: Anti-saccade task; Attentional bias; Eye-tracking; Internet gaming disorder