The present study investigated the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying smartphone/internet addiction. We tested a specific hypothesis that the excessive, uncontrolled use of smartphones should be related to the ability of controlling attention in a purely endogenous and self-regulatory manner. In an fMRI experiment, in which 43 adults participated, we had participants detect and identify specified target stimuli among non-targets. In some trials, 10 s oddball movies were presented as distractors. While the participants try to filter out the distractors and focus their attention on the main task, the activation profiles of the frontoparietal brain regions were examined. The results showed that the people with a higher risk of being addicted to smartphone use failed to filter out distractors via the endogenous control of attention. The neuroimaging data showed that the high-risk group showed significantly lower levels of activation in the frontopolar cortex (FPC). We conclude that people at a high risk of smartphone addiction have difficulty endogenously shifting their attention from distracting stimuli toward goal-directed behavior, and FPC plays a critical role in this self-regulatory control of attention.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.