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      Biased processing of game-related information in problematic mobile gaming users


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          Background and aims

          The present study investigated processing bias for game-related cues in problematic mobile gamers (PMGs) under or above the threshold of conscious awareness.


          In Experiment 1, all participants (20 PMGs and 23 casual players (CPs)) finished a masked visual probe task during a brief (17ms) masked exposure condition. In Experiment 2, an unmasked visual probe task was conducted by an additional forty participants (20 PMGs and 20 CPs) at two exposure durations (200 and 500ms).


          Results showed that PMGs, but not CPs, had an attentional bias for game-related cues which had been presented with two exposure durations (17 and 200ms).

          Discussion and conclusion

          In conclusion, the present study provides evidence that bias in PMGs could be observed both preconsciously and consciously. The results are discussed with reference to incentive sensitization theory and automatic action schema theory.

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          Most cited references48

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          The neural basis of drug craving: an incentive-sensitization theory of addiction.

          This paper presents a biopsychological theory of drug addiction, the 'Incentive-Sensitization Theory'. The theory addresses three fundamental questions. The first is: why do addicts crave drugs? That is, what is the psychological and neurobiological basis of drug craving? The second is: why does drug craving persist even after long periods of abstinence? The third is whether 'wanting' drugs (drug craving) is attributable to 'liking' drugs (to the subjective pleasurable effects of drugs)? The theory posits the following. (1) Addictive drugs share the ability to enhance mesotelencephalic dopamine neurotransmission. (2) One psychological function of this neural system is to attribute 'incentive salience' to the perception and mental representation of events associated with activation of the system. Incentive salience is a psychological process that transforms the perception of stimuli, imbuing them with salience, making them attractive, 'wanted', incentive stimuli. (3) In some individuals the repeated use of addictive drugs produces incremental neuroadaptations in this neural system, rendering it increasingly and perhaps permanently, hypersensitive ('sensitized') to drugs and drug-associated stimuli. The sensitization of dopamine systems is gated by associative learning, which causes excessive incentive salience to be attributed to the act of drug taking and to stimuli associated with drug taking. It is specifically the sensitization of incentive salience, therefore, that transforms ordinary 'wanting' into excessive drug craving. (4) It is further proposed that sensitization of the neural systems responsible for incentive salience ('for wanting') can occur independently of changes in neural systems that mediate the subjective pleasurable effects of drugs (drug 'liking') and of neural systems that mediate withdrawal. Thus, sensitization of incentive salience can produce addictive behavior (compulsive drug seeking and drug taking) even if the expectation of drug pleasure or the aversive properties of withdrawal are diminished and even in the face of strong disincentives, including the loss of reputation, job, home and family. We review evidence for this view of addiction and discuss its implications for understanding the psychology and neurobiology of addiction.
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            Attentional bias in addictive behaviors: a review of its development, causes, and consequences.

            A wealth of research from the past two decades shows that addictive behaviors are characterized by attentional biases for substance-related stimuli. We review the relevant evidence and present an integration of existing theoretical models to explain the development, causes, and consequences of addiction-related attentional biases. We suggest that through classical conditioning, substance-related stimuli elicit the expectancy of substance availability, and this expectancy causes both attentional bias for substance-related stimuli and subjective craving. Furthermore, attentional bias and craving have a mutual excitatory relationship such that increases in one lead to increases in the other, a process that is likely to result in substance self-administration. Cognitive avoidance strategies, impulsivity, and impaired inhibitory control appear to influence the strength of attentional biases and subjective craving. However, some measures of attentional bias, particularly the addiction Stroop, might reflect multiple underlying processes, so results need to be interpreted cautiously. We make several predictions that require testing in future research, and we discuss implications for the treatment of addictive behaviors.
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              Is Open Access

              Internet Addiction and Related Psychological Factors Among Children and Adolescents in China During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Epidemic

              Background The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease presenting a major threat to public health. This study aims to assess Internet use characteristics and objectively examine the potential psychological factors associated with Internet addiction (IA) during the COVID-19 epidemic. Methods A cross-sectional, anonymized, self-reported survey was conducted among Chinese children and adolescents aged 6 to 18 years old. Participants completed questionnaires containing Young’s Internet Addiction Test (IAT) and the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (DASS-21), and questions regarding demographic information and Internet use characteristics. Results A total of 2050 participants (mean age:12.34 ± 4.67 years old, female: 48.44%) were enrolled. Fifty-five (2.68%) participants met the criterion for addictive Internet use (IAT≥70), while 684 (33.37%) participants were classified as problematic Internet users (69≥IAT≥40). Internet usage had grown during the COVID-19 epidemic, including the frequency and duration of recreational Internet use, and the frequency of stay-up Internet use. A linear regression analysis showed female gender (β=-0.091, p<0.001), age (β=0.066, p=0.001), depression (β=0.257, p<0.001), and stress (β=0.323, p<0.001) were significantly correlated with the IAT total scores (R=0.539, R2 = 0.291, p<0.001). Conclusions We observed excessive Internet use among Chinese children and adolescents during the outbreak of COVID-19. Age, gender, depression, and stress were the potential key factors affecting IA. Extended family and professional support should be considered for vulnerable individuals during these unprecedented times.

                Author and article information

                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
                23 June 2023
                29 June 2023
                : 12
                : 2
                : 480-489
                [1 ] Academy of Psychology and Behavior, Faculty of Psychology, Tianjin Normal University , Tianjin, 300387, China
                [2 ] Department of Psychology, University of Toledo , Toledo, Ohio, 43606, USA
                [3 ] Department of Psychiatry, University of Toledo , Toledo, Ohio, 43614, USA
                [4 ] Department of Molecular Psychology, Institute of Psychology and Education, Ulm University , 89081, Ulm, Germany
                [5 ] Tianjin Social Science Laboratory of Students' Mental Development and Learning , Tianjin, 300387, China
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. E-mail: yanghaibo@ 123456tjnu.edu.cn
                Author information
                © 2023 The Author(s)

                Open Access. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited, a link to the CC License is provided, and changes – if any – are indicated.

                : 29 December 2022
                : 06 April 2023
                : 01 June 2023
                : 04 June 2023
                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 3, Equations: 0, References: 49, Pages: 10
                Funded by: NSFC
                Award ID: 32271140

                Evolutionary Biology,Medicine,Psychology,Educational research & Statistics,Social & Behavioral Sciences
                attentional bias,problematic mobile gaming,game-related cues


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