Brain anatomy alterations associated with Social Networking Site (SNS) addiction Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • This study relies on knowledge regarding the neuroplasticity of dual-system components that govern addiction and excessive behavior and suggests that alterations in the grey matter volumes, i.e., brain morphology, of specific regions of interest are associated with technology-related addictions. Using voxel based morphometry (VBM) applied to structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans of twenty social network site (SNS) users with varying degrees of SNS addiction, we show that SNS addiction is associated with a presumably more efficient impulsive brain system, manifested through reduced grey matter volumes in the amygdala bilaterally (but not with structural differences in the Nucleus Accumbens). In this regard, SNS addiction is similar in terms of brain anatomy alterations to other (substance, gambling etc.) addictions. We also show that in contrast to other addictions in which the anterior-/ mid- cingulate cortex is impaired and fails to support the needed inhibition, which manifests through reduced grey matter volumes, this region is presumed to be healthy in our sample and its grey matter volume is positively correlated with one's level of SNS addiction. These findings portray an anatomical morphology model of SNS addiction and point to brain morphology similarities and differences between technology addictions and substance and gambling addictions.

publication date

  • April 2017