Excessive Internet gaming and decision making: Do excessive World of Warcraft players have problems in decision making under risky conditions? (2011)

Psychiatry Res. 2011 Jun 16.
Pawlikowski M, Brand M.

General Psychology: Cognition, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany.


The dysfunctional behavior of excessive Internet gamers, such as preferring the immediate reward (to play World of Warcraft) despite the negative long-term consequences may be comparable with the dysfunctional behavior in substance abusers or individuals with behavioral addictions, e.g. pathological gambling. In these disorders, general decision-making deficits have been demonstrated. Hence, the aim of the present work was to examine decision-making competences of excessive World of Warcraft players. Nineteen excessive Internet gamers (EIG) and a control group (CG) consisting of 19 non-gamers were compared with respect to decision-making abilities. The Game of Dice Task (GDT) was applied to measure decision-making under risky conditions. Furthermore psychological-psychiatric symptoms were assessed in both groups. The EIG showed a reduced decision-making ability in the GDT. Furthermore the EIG group showed a higher psychological-psychiatric symptomatology in contrast to the CG. The results indicate that the reduced decision-making ability of EIG is comparable with patients with other forms of behavioral addiction (e.g. pathological gambling), impulse control disorders or substance abusers. Thus, these results suggest that excessive Internet gaming may be based on a myopia for the future, meaning that EIG prefer to play World of Warcraft despite the negative long-term consequences in social or work domains of life.

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