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Working memory, executive function and impulsivity in Internet-addictive disorders: a comparison with pathological gambling

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 September 2015

Zhenhe Zhou*
Department of Psychiatry, Wuxi Mental Health Center of Nanjing Medical University, Jiangsu Province, P.R. China Wuxi Tongren International Rehabilitation of Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Jiangsu Province, P.R. China
Hongliang Zhou
Grade 2013 class 3, Basic Medicine College of Liaoning Medical University, Liaoning Province, P.R. China
Hongmei Zhu
Department of Psychiatry, Wuxi Mental Health Center of Nanjing Medical University, Jiangsu Province, P.R. China Wuxi Tongren International Rehabilitation of Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Jiangsu Province, P.R. China
Zhenhe Zhou, Department of Psychiatry, Wuxi Mental Health Center of Nanjing Medical University, 156 Qianrong Road, Wuxi 214151, Jiangsu Province, P.R. China. Tel: +86-13358118986; Fax: +86-510-83012201; E-mail:



The purpose of the present study was to test whether individuals with Internet addiction disorder (IAD) presented analogous characteristics of working memory, executive function and impulsivity compared with pathological gambling (PG) patients.


The subjects included 23 individuals with IAD, 23 PG patients and 23 controls. All of the participants were measured with the digit span task, Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, go/no-go task and Barratt Impulsiveness Scale-11 (BIS-11) under the same experimental conditions.


The results of this study showed that the false alarm rate, total response errors, perseverative errors, failure to maintain set and BIS-11 scores of both the IAD and PG groups were significantly higher than that of the control group. In addition, the forward scores and backwards scores, percentage of conceptual level responses, number of categories completed and hit rate of the IAD and PG groups were significantly lower than that of the control group. Furthermore, the false alarm rate and BIS-11 scores of the IAD group were significantly higher than those of PG patients, and the hit rate was significantly lower than that of the PG patients.


Individuals with IAD and PG patients present deficiencies in working memory, executive dysfunction and impulsivity, and individuals with IAD are more impulsive than PG patients.

Original Articles
© Scandinavian College of Neuropsychopharmacology 2015 

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These authors are co-first authors.


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