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      Excessive social media users demonstrate impaired decision making in the Iowa Gambling Task


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          Background and aims

          Online social networking sites (SNSs) like Facebook provide users with myriad social rewards. These social rewards bring users back to SNSs repeatedly, with some users displaying maladaptive, excessive SNS use. Symptoms of this excessive SNS use are similar to symptoms of substance use and behavioral addictive disorders. Importantly, individuals with substance use and behavioral addictive disorders have difficulty making value-based decisions, as demonstrated with paradigms like the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT); however, it is currently unknown if excessive SNS users display the same decision-making deficits. Therefore, in this study, we aimed to investigate the relationship between excessive SNS use and IGT performance.


          We administered the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale (BFAS) to 71 participants to assess their maladaptive use of the Facebook SNS. We next had them perform 100 trials of the IGT to assess their value-based decision making.


          We found a negative correlation between BFAS score and performance in the IGT across participants, specifically over the last block of 20 trials. There were no correlations between BFAS score and IGT performance in earlier blocks of trials.


          Our results demonstrate that more severe, excessive SNS use is associated with more deficient value-based decision making. In particular, our results indicate that excessive SNS users may make more risky decisions during the IGT task.


          This result further supports a parallel between individuals with problematic, excessive SNS use, and individuals with substance use and behavioral addictive disorders.

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          Most cited references25

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          Deciding advantageously before knowing the advantageous strategy.

          Deciding advantageously in a complex situation is thought to require overt reasoning on declarative knowledge, namely, on facts pertaining to premises, options for action, and outcomes of actions that embody the pertinent previous experience. An alternative possibility was investigated: that overt reasoning is preceded by a nonconscious biasing step that uses neural systems other than those that support declarative knowledge. Normal participants and patients with prefrontal damage and decision-making defects performed a gambling task in which behavioral, psychophysiological, and self-account measures were obtained in parallel. Normals began to choose advantageously before they realized which strategy worked best, whereas prefrontal patients continued to choose disadvantageously even after they knew the correct strategy. Moreover, normals began to generate anticipatory skin conductance responses (SCRs) whenever they pondered a choice that turned out to be risky, before they knew explicitly that it was a risky choice, whereas patients never developed anticipatory SCRs, although some eventually realized which choices were risky. The results suggest that, in normal individuals, nonconscious biases guide behavior before conscious knowledge does. Without the help of such biases, overt knowledge may be insufficient to ensure advantageous behavior.
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            Development of a Facebook Addiction Scale.

            The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale (BFAS), initially a pool of 18 items, three reflecting each of the six core elements of addiction (salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal, conflict, and relapse), was constructed and administered to 423 students together with several other standardized self-report scales (Addictive Tendencies Scale, Online Sociability Scale, Facebook Attitude Scale, NEO-FFI, BIS/BAS scales, and Sleep questions). That item within each of the six addiction elements with the highest corrected item-total correlation was retained in the final scale. The factor structure of the scale was good (RMSEA = .046, CFI = .99) and coefficient alpha was .83. The 3-week test-retest reliability coefficient was .82. The scores converged with scores for other scales of Facebook activity. Also, they were positively related to Neuroticism and Extraversion, and negatively related to Conscientiousness. High scores on the new scale were associated with delayed bedtimes and rising times.
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              Construct validity of the Iowa Gambling Task.

              The Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) was created to assess real-world decision making in a laboratory setting and has been applied to various clinical populations (i.e., substance abuse, schizophrenia, pathological gamblers) outside those with orbitofrontal cortex damage, for whom it was originally developed. The current review provides a critical examination of lesion, functional neuroimaging, developmental, and clinical studies in order to examine the construct validity of the IGT. The preponderance of evidence provides support for the use of the IGT to detect decision making deficits in clinical populations, in the context of a more comprehensive evaluation. The review includes a discussion of three critical issues affecting the validity of the IGT, as it has recently become available as a clinical instrument: the lack of a concise definition as to what aspect of decision making the IGT measures, the lack of data regarding reliability of the IGT, and the influence of personality and state mood on IGT performance.

                Author and article information

                J Behav Addict
                J Behav Addict
                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
                09 January 2019
                March 2019
                : 8
                : 1
                : 169-173
                [1 ]Department of Advertising and Public Relations, Michigan State University , East Lansing, MI, USA
                [2 ]Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University , Montreal, Canada
                [3 ]Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Michigan State University , East Lansing, MI, USA
                [4 ]Department of Neurology and Ophthalmology, Michigan State University , East Lansing, MI, USA
                [5 ]School of Psychological Sciences, Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences, Monash University , Melbourne, VIC, Australia
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author: Dar Meshi, PhD; Department of Advertising and Public Relations, Michigan State University, 404 Wilson Road, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA; Phone: +1 517 355 1282; Fax: +1 517 432 2589; E-mail: darmeshi@ 123456gmail.com
                © 2018 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, 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.

                : 02 July 2018
                : 22 October 2018
                : 26 November 2018
                : 02 December 2018
                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 26, Pages: 5
                Funding sources: This study was supported by German Research Foundation (DFG), grant: HE 3347/6-1.
                Brief Report

                social media,facebook,addiction,decision making,iowa gambling task,risk


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