Impulsivity and compulsivity in Internet gaming disorder: A comparison with obsessive-compulsive disorder and alcohol use disorder (2017)

J Behav Addict. 2017 Oct 20:1-9. doi: 10.1556/2006.6.2017.069.

Kim YJ1, Lim JA1, Lee JY1,2, Oh S3, Kim SN4, Kim DJ5, Ha JE6, Kwon JS2,7, Choi JS1,7.


Background and aims

Internet gaming disorder (IGD) is characterized by a loss of control and a preoccupation with Internet games leading to repetitive behavior. We aimed to compare the baseline neuropsychological profiles in IGD, alcohol use disorder (AUD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in the spectrum of impulsivity and compulsivity.


A total of 225 subjects (IGD, N = 86; AUD, N = 39; OCD, N = 23; healthy controls, N = 77) were administered traditional neuropsychological tests including Korean version of the Stroop Color-Word test and computerized neuropsychological tests, including the stop signal test (SST) and the intra-extra dimensional set shift test (IED).


Within the domain of impulsivity, the IGD and OCD groups made significantly more direction errors in SST (p = .003, p = .001) and showed significantly delayed reaction times in the color-word reading condition of the Stroop test (p = .049, p = .001). The OCD group showed the slowest reading time in the color-word condition among the four groups. Within the domain of compulsivity, IGD patients showed the worst performance in IED total trials measuring attentional set shifting ability among the groups.


Both the IGD and OCD groups shared impairment in inhibitory control functions as well as cognitive inflexibility. Neurocognitive dysfunction in IGD is linked to feature of impulsivity and compulsivity of behavioral addiction rather than impulse dyscontrol by itself.


Internet gaming disorder; behavioral addiction; compulsivity; impulsivity; obsessive–compulsive disorder

PMID: 29052999

DOI: 10.1556/2006.6.2017.069