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The potential relationship between Internet addiction and certain cognitive function problems has been suggested by several studies. However, few or no studies have examined the differences in cognitive functioning between persons addicted to the Internet and persons not addicted using a standard neuropsychological test. This study screened 253 middle school students and 389 high school students for Internet addiction and compared 59 Internet-addicted students with 43 non-addicted students using an IQ test. The Internet-addicted group had comprehension sub-item scores that were significantly lower than those of the non-addicted group. As the comprehension item reflects ethical judgement and reality testing, there may be a relationship between Internet addiction and weak social intelligence. Earlier onset of Internet addiction and longer addiction duration were associated with lower participant performance in areas related to attention. As this study is a cross-sectional study, it is not clear whether the persons who display weak cognitive functioning are susceptible to Internet addiction or if Internet addiction causes cognitive problems. However, as brain development remains active during adolescence, the possibility that Internet addiction adversely affects the cognitive functioning of adolescents cannot be ruled out.
Department of Psychiatry, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Psychiatry research
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