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Table 4 Characteristics of task-related brain imaging data in individuals with IGD

From: Bio-psychosocial factors of children and adolescents with internet gaming disorder: a systematic review

Author (year) Participants Diagnostic criteria Brain imaging methods Results
Cai et al. (2016) [55] IGD group: N = 27 (23 boys and 4 girls), 17.1 ± 0.9 years.
Control group: N = 30 (22 boys and 8 girls), 18.3 ± 1.3 years.
DSM-5 Method: MRI
Scanner: 3 T
Software: FreeSurfer v5.1.0
Task: Stroop test
IGD group showed:
1) Increased volumes of caudate nucleus and NAc.
2) Correlation between caudate nucleus volume and Stroop task performance (cognitive control).
3) Correlation between NAc volume and severity of internet addiction.
Chun et al. (2015) [58] IGD group: N = 16 (boys), 13.63 ± 1.03 years.
Control group: N = 19 (boys), 13.37 ± 0.90 years.
Korean Internet Addiction
Proneness Scale
Method: fMRI
Scanner: 3 T
Software: SPM8
Task: Discriminating the level of the
negative feeling induced by the word stimuli including swear words, affective words, and neutral words
IGD group showed:
1) Reduced activation in the right OFC related to cognitive control and in the dorsal ACC related to social rejection during the swear word condition.
2) Negative correlation between activity in the right amygdala toward swear words and anger control score.
Qi et al. (2015) [56] IGD group: N = 23 (boys), 17.26 ± 3.56 years.
Control group: N = 24 (boys), 17.42 ± 3.05 years.
[1] five or more “yes” responses on the YDQ for internet addition
[2] IAT score ≥ 50
Method: fMRI
Scanner: 3 T
Software: SPM8
Task: the balloon analog risk task (BART)
※The BART evaluates the modulation of the risk level (the probability of balloon explosion)
IGD group showed:
1) Reduced modulation of activation of the right DLPFC in response to risk level during the active BART.
2) Negative correlation between risk-related DLPFC activation during the active BART and (self-rating) impulsivity.
Ding et al. (2014) [34] IGD group: N = 17 (14 boys and 3 girls), 16.41 ± 3.20 years.
Control group: N = 17 (14 boys and 3 girls), 16.29 ± 2.95 years.
Modified YDQ for internet addiction criteria Method: fMRI
Scanner: 3 T
Software: SPM8
Task: Go/No-Go Task
IGD group showed:
1) Hyperactivity during No-Go trials in the left superior medial frontal gyrus, right anterior cingulate cortex, right superior/middle frontal gyrus, left inferior parietal lobule, left precentral gyrus, and left precuneus and cuneus.
2) Hypoactivity during No-Go trials in the bilateral middle temporal gyrus, bilateral inferior temporal gyrus, and right superior parietal lobule.
3) Positive association between activation of the left superior medial frontal gyrus and self-rated impulsiveness and addiction severity.
Kim et al. (2012) [57] Excessive online game playing group: N = 13, 14.5 ± 1.1 years.
Control group: N = 10, 14.2 ± 1.3 years.
1) IAT (≥50)
2) difficulty with daily life resulting from excessive game play
Method: fMRI
Scanner: 3 T
Software: The Brain Voyager software package
Task: working memory task
Excessive online game playing group showed:
1) Greater activity in the right middle occipital gyrus, left cerebellum posterior lobe, left premotor cortex, and left middle temporal gyrus in response to working memory tasks during baseline measurements.
2) Increased activity within the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and left occipital fusiform gyrus after 4 weeks of treatment
3) Changes in the severity of online game playing were negatively correlated with changes in the mean beta value of the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in response to complex stimulation after 4 weeks of treatment.
Han et al. (2012) [50] OGA: N = 15, 14.2 ± 1.5 years.
Adolescents without problematic online game play: N = 15, 14.0 ± 1.3 years.
(Over 3 weeks, families were asked to carry out homework assignments focused on increasing family cohesion for more than 1 h/day and 4 days/week)
1) Game playing time greater than 4 h per day and 30 h per week; 2) IAT ≥50; 3) impaired behaviors or distress due to excessive on-line game play which are modified from DSM-IV criteria for substance abuse Method: fMRI
Scanner: 3 T
Software: The Brain Voyager software package
Task: viewing affection and game scenes without responding
OGA group showed:
1) Decreased activity within the caudate, middle temporal gyrus, and occipital lobe in response to images depicting parental affection and increased activity of the middle frontal and inferior parietal in response scenes from online games, relative to control group at baseline.
2) Improvement in perceived family cohesion following 3 weeks of treatment was associated with an increase in the activity of the caudate nucleus in response to affection stimuli and was inversely correlated with changes in online game playing time.
  1. VBM voxel-based morphometric
  2. PFC prefrontal cortex
  3. DLPFC dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
  4. OFC orbitofrontal cortex
  5. ACC anterior cingulate cortex
  6. SMA supplementary motor area
  7. NAc nucleus accumbens
  8. PCC posterior cingulate cortex
  9. CBF cerebral blood flow
  10. IAT Internet Addiction Test
  11. YDQ Young Diagnostic Questionnaire
  12. IGD Internet Gaming Disorder
  13. OGA Online Gaming Addiction