Impaired frontal-basal ganglia connectivity in adolescents with internet addiction

Sci Rep. 2014 May 22;4:5027. doi: 10.1038/srep05027.


Understanding the neural basis of poor impulse control in Internet addiction (IA) is important for understanding the neurobiological mechanisms of this syndrome. The current study investigated how neuronal pathways implicated in response inhibition were affected in IA using a Go-Stop paradigm and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Twenty-three control subjects aged 15.2±0.5 years (mean±S.D.) and eighteen IA subjects aged 15.1±1.4 years were studied. Effective connectivity within the response inhibition network was quantified using (stochastic) dynamic causal modeling (DCM). The results showed that the indirect frontal-basal ganglia pathway was engaged by response inhibition in healthy subjects. However, we did not detect any equivalent effective connectivity in the IA group. This suggests the IA subjects fail to recruit this pathway and inhibit unwanted actions. This study provides a clear link between Internet addiction as a behavioral disorder and aberrant connectivity in the response inhibition network.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Basal Ganglia / physiopathology*
  • Behavior, Addictive / diagnosis*
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Functional Neuroimaging
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Internet*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Reaction Time