A neural mechanism of the relationship between impulsivity and emotion dysregulation in patients with Internet gaming disorder

Yu Bin Shin, Hyunji Kim, Soo Jeong Kim, Jae Jin Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Impulsivity and emotion dysregulation have been known to be risk factors for Internet gaming disorder (IGD), but their underlying neural mechanisms are not yet fully understood. Given that the prefrontal cortex has a key role in higher order cognition and addiction, the present study aimed to investigate emotional influences on response inhibition in situations with different cognitive demands. A total of 41 young male adults (20 with and 21 without IGD) were scanned while performing two versions of an emotional go/no-go task with demands on low and high working memory load. Patients with IGD showed a failure in response inhibition and increased activation of widespread brain regions, including prefrontal, motor-sensory, parietal, occipital, insula, and striatal regions across tasks. Among these regions, involvement of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and ventral striatum was observed only during the task with high demands on working memory. Moreover, it was also only during the high-load task that interaction between response inhibition and emotional states was observed in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, with observations revealing that its alteration in patients with IGD was associated with number of hours spent on Internet gaming. Our findings highlight a failure of response inhibition and dysfunction within the inhibitory control network. The special significance of our study is that dysfunctional dorsomedial prefrontal cortex may mediate abnormal emotional influences on response inhibition in patients with IGD.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12916
JournalAddiction Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021 May

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Brain Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (NRF‐2015M3C7A1065053).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Society for the Study of Addiction

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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