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      Motivated attention to stimuli related to social networking sites: A cue-reactivity study

      * , ,
      Journal of Behavioral Addictions
      Akadémiai Kiadó
      cue-reactivity, addictive behaviors, internet, event-related potentials, Facebook, craving

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          Background and aims

          It has been argued that similar to addictive behaviors, problematic Social Network sites use (PSNSU) is characterized by sensitized reward processing and cue-reactivity. However, no study to our knowledge has yet investigated cue-reactivity in PSNSU. The present study aims at investigating cue-reactivity to Social Network sites (i.e., Facebook)-related visual cues in individuals identified as problematic vs. non-problematic Facebook users by the Problematic Facebook Use Scale.


          The Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) were recorded during the passive viewing of Facebook-related, pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral pictures in 27 problematic and 26 non-problematic users. Moreover, craving for Facebook usage was collected using a Likert scale.


          Despite problematic users were more likely to endorse higher craving than non-problematic ones, Facebook-related cues elicited larger ERP positivity (400–600 ms) than neutral, and comparable to unpleasant stimuli, in all Facebook users. Only in problematic users we found larger positivity (600–800 ms) to pleasant than unpleasant cues and higher craving to be related with lower later positivity (800–1,000 ms) to pleasant and unpleasant cues.


          Regardless of whether Facebook usage is problematic or non-problematic, Facebook-related cues seem to be motivationally relevant stimuli that capture attentional resources in the earlier stages of “motivated” attentional allocation. Moreover, our results support the view that in higher-craving problematic users, reduced abilities to experience emotions would be the result of defective emotion regulation processes that allow craving states to capture more motivational/attentional resources at the expense of other emotional states.

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          Most cited references54

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          lmerTest Package: Tests in Linear Mixed Effects Models

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            Measuring emotion: the Self-Assessment Manikin and the Semantic Differential.

            The Self-Assessment Manikin (SAM) is a non-verbal pictorial assessment technique that directly measures the pleasure, arousal, and dominance associated with a person's affective reaction to a wide variety of stimuli. In this experiment, we compare reports of affective experience obtained using SAM, which requires only three simple judgments, to the Semantic Differential scale devised by Mehrabian and Russell (An approach to environmental psychology, 1974) which requires 18 different ratings. Subjective reports were measured to a series of pictures that varied in both affective valence and intensity. Correlations across the two rating methods were high both for reports of experienced pleasure and felt arousal. Differences obtained in the dominance dimension of the two instruments suggest that SAM may better track the personal response to an affective stimulus. SAM is an inexpensive, easy method for quickly assessing reports of affective response in many contexts.
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              Brain potentials in affective picture processing: covariation with autonomic arousal and affective report

              Emotionally arousing picture stimuli evoked scalp-recorded event-related potentials. A late, slow positive voltage change was observed, which was significantly larger for affective than neutral stimuli. This positive shift began 200-300 ms after picture onset, reached its maximum amplitude approximately 1 s after picture onset, and was sustained for most of a 6-s picture presentation period. The positive increase was not related to local probability of content type, but was accentuated for pictures that prompted increased autonomic responses and reports of greater affective arousal (e.g. erotic or violent content). These results suggest that the late positive wave indicates a selective processing of emotional stimuli, reflecting the activation of motivational systems in the brain.

                Author and article information

                J Behav Addict
                J Behav Addict
                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
                21 June 2021
                July 2021
                July 2021
                : 10
                : 2
                : 314-326
                [1]Department of General Psychology, University of Padova , Padova, Italy
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. Tel.: +39 049 827 6957. E-mail: tania.moretta.1@ 123456unipd.it
                © 2021 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.

                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 59, Pages: 13

                cue-reactivity,addictive behaviors,internet,event-related potentials,facebook,craving


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