Higher Risk Taking and Impaired Probability Judgment in Behavioral Addiction

Yui Asaoka1, Moojun Won2, Tomonari Morita2, Emi Ishikawa2, & Yukiori Goto1

1Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University, Inuyama, Aichi, 484-8506, Japan
2Kyowa Hospital, Obu, Aichi, 474-0071, Japan

Significance Statement:

Behavioral addiction has recently been gaining extensive attention in the society, along with emergence of new psychiatric conditions of it, such as gaming disorders and Internet use disorder. However, behavioral addiction is still a conceptually new disorder, and its criteria have not yet been determined. To further elucidate what characteristics may be associated with behavioral addiction, we investigated whether cognitive biases, systematic errors in judgment and decision making, were different from healthy subjects in patients diagnosed with kleptomania and paraphilia, both of which are psychiatric conditions thought to fit into the criteria of behavioral addiction. Our study demonstrates that, although no clear difference of cognitive biases themselves between behavioral addicts and healthy subjects, behavioral addicts exhibit impairments of probability judgment associated with compromised prefrontal cortical activity, which consequently lead to higher risk taking in decision making.