Brain scans find porn addiction
Eleanor Mills and Jon Ungoed-Thomas Published: 22 September 2013
COMPULSIVE users of pornography show the same signs of addiction in their brain activity as alcoholics or drug addicts, a study has revealed.
In the first research of its kind, scans showed that a central portion of the brain which is stimulated in drug or alcohol addicts also “lit up” when compulsive pornography users watched explicit material. There was no such effect in the brains of people who were not habitual users of porn.
The Cambridge University study will increase pressure for tighter control on porn. Researchers used MRI scans to analyse the brain activity of 19 users of pornography who said they had a problem with their habit.
Dr Valerie Voon, the principal researcher in the study and a neuropsychiatrist at Cambridge, said: “We found greater activity in an area of the brain called the ventral striatum, which is a reward centre, involved in processing reward, motivation and pleasure.