The last school seminar for the semester (barring the usual "special" seminar or two over the inter-semester break) will be held on Friday 25th May. The seminar will be delivered by Dr Frances Martin from the University of Tasmania. Dr Martin will be speaking on "Examination of Addiction to and Level of Engagement in Potentially Addictive Behavioural Activities" (abstract below). The talk will be held in room 302 and will start at 3pm.
Activities such as gambling, video-arcade games, computer games, and the Internet have been identified as potentially addictive activities, which like drug use, may exist on a continuum of addiction, ranging from no symptoms of addiction to addiction. Researchers have also emphasised the need to distinguish high engagement in activities and addiction. In the first of four studies, demographic and prevalence data were obtained from 1762 (845 female) school students and 709 (509 female) university students. Lifetime participation and frequency and duration of engagement in on-line games and the Internet were higher amongst this sample of Australian students compared to previous research conducted on youth. The prevalence of sub-clinical computer game and Internet addiction was higher than that reported by past researchers. Three continuum hypotheses were then investigated using psychophysiological (P3a, P3b, and MMN) and personality variables. The continuum hypotheses investigated were: low engagement through to addiction, continuum of increasing engagement and addiction symptomatology, and continuum of addiction symptomatology. The absence of significant MMN differences for any continuum suggests that reductions in P3a and P3b amplitude recorded for groups with a sub-clinical, or above, level of addiction are specifically related to differences in cognitive processing that require attentional resources and not to pre-attentive automatic processing of incoming stimuli. As the Addicted