University of Tasmania
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Attentional bias to social media cues : an eye tracking study

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posted on 2023-05-28, 00:19 authored by Marshall, AJ
Many behaviours provide short-term rewards. However, when adverse consequences begin to occur, and individuals continue engaging in the behaviour, it becomes maladaptive, and may develop into a behavioural addiction. Determining which behaviours should be classified as behavioural addictions requires an understanding of the mechanisms that underly addiction. Attentional bias is believed to be an underlying mechanism for both substance abuse and gambling disorders, but there is limited research about its connection to Problematic Social Media Use (PSMU). This study used eye-tracking technology to explore whether individuals with differing levels of PSMU, measured by a post-experimental survey, had different attentional biases in the form of saccadic reaction time. The sample included 26 participants, aged 20-32 (M = 24.65, SD = 3.82) Results indicated that there was no effect of attentional bias on reaction time in individuals with differing levels of PSMU. However, measures of PMSU were significantly correlated with impulsivity and attention deficits, suggesting that there may be different factors involved in the maintenance of PSMU to other addictions. Further research with larger samples is needed to understand the role of attentional bias in PSMU and addiction.


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