Front Biosci (Elite Ed). 2017 Jun 1;9:307-320.
Individuals with Internet addiction (IA) show loss of control and recurring maladaptive Internet use. This condition has negative consequences and causes significant psychosocial distress. Here, we review neurobiological changes in four key paradigms in cognitive domain in IA including reward processing, impulsivity, cue reactivity, and decision-making. IA is associated with alterations in prefrontal-cingulate region activation during the inhibition of inappropriate responses. Such patterns are also observed in cue-reactivity paradigm tasks, suggesting a relationship with loss of control and deficits in the control of cue-eliciting behavior. Individuals with IA exhibit heightened reward prediction, devalue negative outcomes and have a higher risk-taking propensity under ambiguous situations.
In conclusion, addictive use of the Internet is associated with deficits in cognitive-emotional processing, aberrant sensitivity to rewards and Internet-related cues, poor impulse control, and impaired decision-making. There is a need to examine neural underpinnings of these aberrant behaviors and neurobiological-cognitive perspective in IA.