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      Prefrontal Control and Internet Addiction: A Theoretical Model and Review of Neuropsychological and Neuroimaging Findings

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          Abstract

          Most people use the Internet as a functional tool to perform their personal goals in everyday-life such as making airline or hotel reservations. However, some individuals suffer from a loss of control over their Internet use resulting in personal distress, symptoms of psychological dependence, and diverse negative consequences. This phenomenon is often referred to as Internet addiction. Only Internet Gaming Disorder has been included in the appendix of the DSM-5, but it has already been argued that Internet addiction could also comprise problematic use of other applications with cybersex, online relations, shopping, and information search being Internet facets at risk for developing an addictive behavior. Neuropsychological investigations have pointed out that certain prefrontal functions in particular executive control functions are related to symptoms of Internet addiction, which is in line with recent theoretical models on the development and maintenance of the addictive use of the Internet. Control processes are particularly reduced when individuals with Internet addiction are confronted with Internet-related cues representing their first choice use. For example, processing Internet-related cues interferes with working memory performance and decision making. Consistent with this, results from functional neuroimaging and other neuropsychological studies demonstrate that cue-reactivity, craving, and decision making are important concepts for understanding Internet addiction. The findings on reductions in executive control are consistent with other behavioral addictions, such as pathological gambling. They also emphasize the classification of the phenomenon as an addiction, because there are also several similarities with findings in substance dependency. The neuropsychological and neuroimaging results have important clinical impact, as one therapy goal should enhance control over the Internet use by modifying specific cognitions and Internet use expectancies.

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          Most cited references 146

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          Internet Addiction: The Emergence of a New Clinical Disorder

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            Conflict monitoring and anterior cingulate cortex: an update.

            One hypothesis concerning the human dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is that it functions, in part, to signal the occurrence of conflicts in information processing, thereby triggering compensatory adjustments in cognitive control. Since this idea was first proposed, a great deal of relevant empirical evidence has accrued. This evidence has largely corroborated the conflict-monitoring hypothesis, and some very recent work has provided striking new support for the theory. At the same time, other findings have posed specific challenges, especially concerning the way the theory addresses the processing of errors. Recent research has also begun to shed light on the larger function of the ACC, suggesting some new possibilities concerning how conflict monitoring might fit into the cingulate's overall role in cognition and action.
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              Neural systems of reinforcement for drug addiction: from actions to habits to compulsion.

              Drug addiction is increasingly viewed as the endpoint of a series of transitions from initial drug use--when a drug is voluntarily taken because it has reinforcing, often hedonic, effects--through loss of control over this behavior, such that it becomes habitual and ultimately compulsive. Here we discuss evidence that these transitions depend on interactions between pavlovian and instrumental learning processes. We hypothesize that the change from voluntary drug use to more habitual and compulsive drug use represents a transition at the neural level from prefrontal cortical to striatal control over drug seeking and drug taking behavior as well as a progression from ventral to more dorsal domains of the striatum, involving its dopaminergic innervation. These neural transitions may themselves depend on the neuroplasticity in both cortical and striatal structures that is induced by chronic self-administration of drugs.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Front Hum Neurosci
                Front Hum Neurosci
                Front. Hum. Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                1662-5161
                27 May 2014
                2014
                : 8
                Affiliations
                1Department of General Psychology: Cognition, University of Duisburg-Essen , Duisburg, Germany
                2Erwin L. Hahn Institute for Magnetic Resonance Imaging , Essen, Germany
                3Center for Internet Addiction, Russell J. Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication, St. Bonaventure University , Olean, NY, USA
                Author notes

                Edited by: Ali Mazaheri, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

                Reviewed by: Arun Bokde, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland; Thilo Van Eimeren, Christian-Albrechts University, Germany

                *Correspondence: Matthias Brand, Department of General Psychology: Cognition, University of Duisburg-Essen, Forsthausweg 2, Duisburg 47057, Germany e-mail: matthias.brand@ 123456uni-due.de

                This article was submitted to the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

                Article
                10.3389/fnhum.2014.00375
                4034340
                Copyright © 2014 Brand, Young and Laier.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 151, Pages: 13, Words: 12565
                Categories
                Neuroscience
                Review Article

                Neurosciences

                neuroimaging, craving, cue-reactivity, executive functions, internet addiction

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