Internet addiction is a sort of non-psychoactive substance dependence. The Implicit Association Test (IAT) is used to measure implicit cognition. Event-related potential (ERP) is one of the most widely used methods in cognitive neuroscience research to investigate the physiological correlates of cognitive activity associated with processing information. Further investigating the ERP characteristics of implicit cognitive bias in Internet addiction would be helpful in understanding the nature of Internet addiction. This study investigated the ERP characteristics of implicit cognitive bias in Internet addiction. The participants included 60 Internet-addicted individuals (IAG) and 60 normal controls (NCG). All participants were measured with ERPs using the IAT. The results showed that there was a significant difference in the Internet-related IAT effect for reaction times between IAG and NCG, and there were stronger positive implicit associations toward Internet related cues in IAG than NCG. Using P1, N2, P3, and N4 as dependent variables, a mixed repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) on the mean latencies and mean amplitudes revealed a significant interaction between the groups (IAG vs. NCG) and stimulus condition (compatible trials vs. incompatible trials) for the N2 and P3 amplitudes; the simple effects analysis showed that the N2 and P3 amplitudes were larger under the IAG-compatible trial conditions than under the IAG-incompatible trial conditions. In the IAG group, the positive implicit associations with Internet-related cues elicited larger N2 and P3 amplitudes at the occipital lobe sites. These results indicated that Internet addictive individuals show stronger positive implicit associations toward Internet-related cues, and the positive implicit associations toward Internet-related cues elicited ERP changes at occipital lobe sites.
Chen, L., Zhou, H., Gu, Y., Wang, S., Wang, J., Tian, L., … Zhou, Z. (2018). The neural correlates of implicit cognitive bias toward internet-related cues in Internet addiction: An ERP study. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9(SEP). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00421