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      Enhanced neural responses in specific phases of reward processing in individuals with Internet gaming disorder

      1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 5 , 6 , , 8 , 9 , , 1 , 5 , 6 , * , , 5 , 6
      Journal of Behavioral Addictions
      Akadémiai Kiadó
      fMRI, Internet gaming disorder, reward processing

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          Background and aims

          Internet gaming disorder (IGD) has become a global health problem. The self-regulation model noted that a shift to reward system, whether due to overwhelming reward-seeking or impaired control, can lead to self-regulation failures, e.g., addiction. The present study focused on the reward processing of IGD, aiming to provide insights into the etiology of IGD. Reward processing includes three phases: reward anticipation, outcome monitoring and choice evaluation. However, it is not clear which phases of reward processing are different between individuals with IGD and healthy controls (HC).


          To address this issue, the present study asked 27 individuals with IGD and 26 HC to complete a roulette task during a functional MRI scan.


          Compared with HC, individuals with IGD preferred to take risks in pursuit of high rewards behaviorally and showed exaggerated brain activity in the striatum (nucleus accumbens and caudate) during the reward anticipation and outcome monitoring but not during the choice evaluation.


          These results reveal that the oversensitivity of the reward system to potential and positive rewards in college students with IGD drives them to approach risky options more frequently although they are able to assess the risk values of options and the correctness of decisions properly as HC do.


          These findings provide partial support for the application of the self-regulation model to the IGD population. Moreover, this study enriches this model from the perspective of three phases of reward processing and provides specific targets for future research regarding effective treatment of IGD.

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          Most cited references63

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          Behavioral inhibition, behavioral activation, and affective responses to impending reward and punishment: The BIS/BAS Scales.

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            Is Open Access

            Integrating psychological and neurobiological considerations regarding the development and maintenance of specific Internet-use disorders: An Interaction of Person-Affect-Cognition-Execution (I-PACE) model.

            Within the last two decades, many studies have addressed the clinical phenomenon of Internet-use disorders, with a particular focus on Internet-gaming disorder. Based on previous theoretical considerations and empirical findings, we suggest an Interaction of Person-Affect-Cognition-Execution (I-PACE) model of specific Internet-use disorders. The I-PACE model is a theoretical framework for the processes underlying the development and maintenance of an addictive use of certain Internet applications or sites promoting gaming, gambling, pornography viewing, shopping, or communication. The model is composed as a process model. Specific Internet-use disorders are considered to be the consequence of interactions between predisposing factors, such as neurobiological and psychological constitutions, moderators, such as coping styles and Internet-related cognitive biases, and mediators, such as affective and cognitive responses to situational triggers in combination with reduced executive functioning. Conditioning processes may strengthen these associations within an addiction process. Although the hypotheses regarding the mechanisms underlying the development and maintenance of specific Internet-use disorders, summarized in the I-PACE model, must be further tested empirically, implications for treatment interventions are suggested.
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              FMRI visualization of brain activity during a monetary incentive delay task.

              Comparative studies have implicated striatal and mesial forebrain circuitry in the generation of autonomic, endocrine, and behavioral responses for incentives. Using blood oxygen level-dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging, we sought to visualize functional activation of these regions in 12 normal volunteers as they anticipated and responded for monetary incentives. Both individual and group analyses of time-series data revealed significant activation of striatal and mesial forebrain structures (including insula, caudate, putamen, and mesial prefrontal cortex) during trials involving both monetary rewards and punishments. In addition to these areas, during trials involving punishment, group analysis revealed activation foci in the anterior cingulate and thalamus. These results corroborate comparative studies which implicate striatal and mesial forebrain circuitry in the elaboration of incentive-driven behavior. This report also introduces a new paradigm for probing the functional integrity of this circuitry in humans.

                Author and article information

                J Behav Addict
                J Behav Addict
                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
                10 February 2021
                April 2021
                April 2021
                : 10
                : 1
                : 99-111
                [1 ]Department of Psychology, Beijing Key Laboratory of Learning and Cognition, Capital Normal University , Beijing, China
                [2 ]Center for Cognition and Brain Disorders, The Affiliated Hospital of Hangzhou Normal University , Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China
                [3 ]Institutes of Psychological Sciences, Hangzhou Normal University , Hangzhou, China
                [4 ]Zhejiang Key Laboratory for Research in Assessment of Cognitive Impairments , Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China
                [5 ]CAS Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Institute of Psychology , Beijing, China
                [6 ]Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences , Beijing, China
                [7 ]Department of Psychology, Dalian Medical University , Dalian, China
                [8 ]The Department of Psychology, Renmin University of China , Beijing, China
                [9 ]The Laboratory of the Department of Psychology, Renmin University of China , Beijing, China
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. E-mail: liqi@ 123456psych.ac.cn
                Author information
                © 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.

                : 11 August 2020
                : 25 November 2020
                : 27 December 2020
                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 4, Equations: 0, References: 64, Pages: 13

                fmri,internet gaming disorder,reward processing
                fmri, internet gaming disorder, reward processing


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