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Altered Heart Rate Variability During Gaming in Internet Gaming Disorder

 Deokjong Lee  ;  Sung Jun Hong  ;  Young-Chul Jung  ;  Jinsick Park  ;  In Young Kim  ;  Kee Namkoong 
 Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, Vol.21(4) : 259-267, 2018 
Journal Title
 Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking 
Issue Date
Internet gaming disorder ; executive control ; gray matter volume ; heart rate variability ; prefrontal cortex
Internet gaming disorder (IGD) is characterized by addiction to online gaming and reduced executive control, particularly when individuals are exposed to gaming-related cues. Executive control can be measured as vagally mediated heart rate variability (HRV), which corresponds to variability in the time interval between heart beats. In this study, we investigated whether individuals with IGD have altered HRV while playing online games. We hypothesized that while gaming, individuals with IGD would exhibit phasic suppression of vagally mediated HRV, which would reflect executive control dysfunction during game play. To test this, we measured the changes of HRV when young males with IGD were engaged in real-time online gaming. The changes of HRV were associated with the severity of IGD assessed by self-reports and prefrontal gray matter volume (GMV) calculated by voxel-based morphometry. We included 23 IGD subjects and 18 controls in our analyses. Changes in HRV were not statistically different between IGD subjects and controls. Within the IGD group, however, subjects showed significant decreases in high-frequency (HF) HRV during gaming. Furthermore, the degree of decrease correlated with IGD severity and prefrontal GMV. Importantly, this phasic suppression of HF-HRV in response to gaming did not occur in control subjects. In conclusion, young males with IGD showed an altered HRV response while playing an online game, reflecting their difficulties in executive control over gaming. The dynamics between executive control and reward seeking may be out of balance during game play in IGD.
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1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Psychiatry (정신과학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Namkoong, Kee(남궁기) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1400-8057
Lee, Deokjong(이덕종)
Jung, Young Chul(정영철) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0578-2510
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