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      Getting stuck with pornography? Overuse or neglect of cybersex cues in a multitasking situation is related to symptoms of cybersex addiction

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          Background and aims

          Some individuals consume cybersex contents, such as pornographic material, in an addictive manner, which leads to severe negative consequences in private life or work. One mechanism leading to negative consequences may be reduced executive control over cognition and behavior that may be necessary to realize goal-oriented switching between cybersex use and other tasks and obligations of life.


          To address this aspect, we investigated 104 male participants with an executive multitasking paradigm with two sets: One set consisted of pictures of persons, the other set consisted of pornographic pictures. In both sets the pictures had to be classified according to certain criteria. The explicit goal was to work on all classification tasks to equal amounts, by switching between the sets and classification tasks in a balanced manner.


          We found that less balanced performance in this multitasking paradigm was associated with a higher tendency towards cybersex addiction. Persons with this tendency often either overused or neglected working on the pornographic pictures.


          The results indicate that reduced executive control over multitasking performance, when being confronted with pornographic material, may contribute to dysfunctional behaviors and negative consequences resulting from cybersex addiction. However, individuals with tendencies towards cybersex addiction seem to have either an inclination to avoid or to approach the pornographic material, as discussed in motivational models of addiction.

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          Most cited references 53

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          Executive function and the frontal lobes: a meta-analytic review.

          Currently, there is debate among scholars regarding how to operationalize and measure executive functions. These functions generally are referred to as "supervisory" cognitive processes because they involve higher level organization and execution of complex thoughts and behavior. Although conceptualizations vary regarding what mental processes actually constitute the "executive function" construct, there has been a historical linkage of these "higher-level" processes with the frontal lobes. In fact, many investigators have used the term "frontal functions" synonymously with "executive functions" despite evidence that contradicts this synonymous usage. The current review provides a critical analysis of lesion and neuroimaging studies using three popular executive function measures (Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, Phonemic Verbal Fluency, and Stroop Color Word Interference Test) in order to examine the validity of the executive function construct in terms of its relation to activation and damage to the frontal lobes. Empirical lesion data are examined via meta-analysis procedures along with formula derivatives. Results reveal mixed evidence that does not support a one-to-one relationship between executive functions and frontal lobe activity. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of construing the validity of these neuropsychological tests in anatomical, rather than cognitive and behavioral, terms.
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            A cognitive-behavioral model of pathological Internet use

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              Meta-analysis of cue-reactivity in addiction research.

              The cue-reactivity procedure exposes addicts to a variety of drug-related stimuli while self-report of craving and physiological responses are monitored. The present review sought to determine the magnitude and overall pattern of responses typically found in cue-reactivity research and which, if any, learning-based model of cue reactivity is best supported by the findings. Meta-analytical techniques were used to select and evaluate results from 41 cue-reactivity studies that compared responses of alcoholics, cigarette smokers, cocaine addicts or heroin addicts to drug-related versus neutral stimuli. Effect sizes were calculated, separately by addict type, for self-report of craving and physiological responses (heart rate, sweat gland activity and skin temperature). Across all addict groups, the effect size for craving was +0.92. Alcoholics had a significantly smaller craving effect size (+0.53) compared to other addict groups (+1.18 to +1.29). Relatively smaller effect sizes were found for physiological responses. The general profile of effect sizes across all addict groups was increased heart rate (+0.26) and sweat gland activity (+0.40) and decreased skin temperature (-0.24) when addicts were presented with drug-related stimuli. The cue-reactivity paradigm can produce a stable profile of significant effects and, therefore, has a number of potential applications for investigating addictive phenomena. The implications of these findings for conditioning-based models of cue-reactivity phenomena are discussed.

                Author and article information

                J Behav Addict
                J Behav Addict
                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                Akadémiai Kiadó (journals@akkrt.hu )
                March 2015
                18 March 2015
                : 4
                : 1
                : 14-21
                1Department of General Psychology: Cognition, University of Duisburg-Essen DuisburgGermany
                1Department of General Psychology: Cognition, University of Duisburg-Essen DuisburgGermany
                1Department of General Psychology: Cognition, University of Duisburg-Essen DuisburgGermany
                2Erwin L. Hahn Institute for Magnetic Resonance Imaging EssenGermany
                1Department of General Psychology: Cognition, University of Duisburg-Essen DuisburgGermany
                2Erwin L. Hahn Institute for Magnetic Resonance Imaging EssenGermany
                Author notes

                *Corresponding author: Johannes Schiebener; Forsthausweg 2, 47057 Duisburg, Germany; Phone: +49-203-3791306; Fax: +49-203-3791846; E-mail:

                Copyright © 2015, Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Funding sources: Nothing declared.
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