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Published On: 02/03/2024|Categories: 2023-2027, Vol.45 (1), Vol.45 (2024)|
Cite as: Zsido, A.N., Inhóf, O., Arató, N., Matuz-Budai, T., Bali, C., Lábadi, B. (2024). Problematic internet use may be linked to issues with verbal processing. Psicologica, 45(1): e16117

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Problematic internet users (PIUs) tend to have poorer attentional control, impaired working memory (WM), and poorer executive functions. Based on previous results using verbal and visuospatial WM tasks, there might be a difference in the processing efficiency of various types of information. Visuospatial processing skills might be enhanced in PIUs, however, studies considering a possible association with verbal processing skills are scarce. Here we investigated how performance on verbal and visuospatial tasks are associated with measures of PIU. Participants (N=51) completed a dot-finding and a 1-back single task with both verbal and visuospatial stimuli, and a dual-task that combined the two single tasks. Thus, we manipulated task Difficulty (Single vs Dual) and Type (Verbal vs Visuospatial). We used the Problematic Internet Use Questionnaire (PIUQ) to measure PIU. People scoring higher (compared to those scoring lower) on control issues and craving/anxiety subscales of PIUQ performed worse on the verbal and better on the visuospatial condition. Higher PIUQ total scores correlated with more difficulty on the single-task and lower difficulty with dual-task performance. In conclusion, although subjects more prone to PIU were better in task switching, higher levels of PIU may be associated with worse verbal processing and increased distractibility.

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