This study aimed to investigate changes in heart rate variability and cardiorespiratory coupling in male college students with problematic Internet use (PIU) excessive gaming type during action video game play to assess the relationship between PIU tendency and central autonomic regulation.
Electrocardiograms and respiration were simultaneously recorded from 22 male participants with excessive online gaming and 22 controls during action video game play. Sample entropy (SampEn) was computed to assess autonomic regularity, and cross-SampEn was calculated to quantify autonomic coordination.
During video game play, reduced cardiorespiratory coupling (CRC) was observed in individuals with PIU excessive gaming type compared with controls, implicating central autonomic dysregulation. The PIU tendency was associated with the severity of autonomic dysregulation.
These findings indicate impaired CRC in PIU excessive gaming type, which may reflect alterations of central inhibitory control over autonomic responses to pleasurable online stimuli.