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Addict Biol. 2019 Jan 6. doi: 10.1111/adb.12713. [Epub ahead of print]

Cue-elicited craving-related lentiform activation during gaming deprivation is associated with the emergence of Internet gaming disorder.

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Center for Cognition and Brain Disorders, Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China.
Department of Physics, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Magnetic Resonance, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China.
Department of Psychiatry, Department of Neurobiology, and Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.
The Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling, Wethersfield, Connecticut.
The Connecticut Mental Health Center, New Haven, Connecticut.


Internet gaming disorder (IGD) is associated with negative health measures. However, little is known regarding the brain mechanisms or cognitive factors that may predict transitions from regular game use (RGU) to IGD. Such knowledge may help identify individuals who are particularly vulnerable to IGD and aid in prevention efforts. One hundred forty-nine individuals with RGU were scanned when they were performing a cue-elicited-craving task before gaming and after gaming was suddenly ceased. One year later, 23 were found to have developed IGD (RGU_IGD). We compared the original data from these 23 RGU_IGD subjects and 23 one-to-one matched subjects still meeting criteria for RGU (RGU_RGU). RGU_IGD and RGU_RGU subjects showed similarities in the cue-elicited-craving task before gaming. Significant group-by-time interaction identified the bilateral lentiform nucleus. Post hoc analysis showed the interaction was related to increased activation in the RGU_IGD subjects following gaming. Significant correlations were observed between self-reported cravings and lentiform activation in the RGU_IGD subjects. Among individuals with RGU, gaming-cue-induced lentiform activation following a session of gaming may predict subsequent development of IGD. The findings suggest a biological mechanism for emergence of IGD that may help inform prevention interventions.


Internet gaming disorder; deprivation; longitudinal; predictor; vulnerability


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