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Transl Psychiatry. 2016 Jan 26;6:e721. doi: 10.1038/tp.2015.215.

Dysfunctional information processing during an auditory event-related potential task in individuals with Internet gaming disorder.

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Department of Psychiatry, SMG-SNU Boramae Medical Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Department of Psychiatry, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


Internet gaming disorder (IGD) leading to serious impairments in cognitive, psychological and social functions has gradually been increasing. However, very few studies conducted to date have addressed issues related to the event-related potential (ERP) patterns in IGD. Identifying the neurobiological characteristics of IGD is important to elucidate the pathophysiology of this condition. P300 is a useful ERP component for investigating electrophysiological features of the brain. The aims of the present study were to investigate differences between patients with IGD and healthy controls (HCs), with regard to the P300 component of the ERP during an auditory oddball task, and to examine the relationship of this component to the severity of IGD symptoms in identifying the relevant neurophysiological features of IGD. Twenty-six patients diagnosed with IGD and 23 age-, sex-, education- and intelligence quotient-matched HCs participated in this study. During an auditory oddball task, participants had to respond to the rare, deviant tones presented in a sequence of frequent, standard tones. The IGD group exhibited a significant reduction in response to deviant tones compared with the HC group in the P300 amplitudes at the midline centro-parietal electrode regions. We also found a negative correlation between the severity of IGD and P300 amplitudes. The reduced amplitude of the P300 component in an auditory oddball task may reflect dysfunction in auditory information processing and cognitive capabilities in IGD. These findings suggest that reduced P300 amplitudes may be candidate neurobiological marker for IGD.

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