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A review of the use of psychophysiological methods in game research

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This article reviews the psychophysiological method in game research. Psychophysiological measurements provide an objective, continuous, real-time, noninvasive, precise and sensitive way to assess the game experience. However, the best results require controlled experiments with careful monitoring of variables, large enough sample sizes and expertise in electrical signal processing. We briefly explain the theory behind the method and present the most useful measures: electromyography (EMG), electrodermal activity (EDA), electroencephalography (EEG) and cardiac measures. We review previous studies that have used psychophysiological measures in game research and illustrate some future directions. Our article covers several research lines using the psychophysiological method in game studies, and offers a comprehensive list of references for those interested in the field.

Keywords: critical review; digital games; game design; game experience; methodology; psychophysiology

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Aalto University 2: University of Geneva 3: University of Helsinki and Aalto University

Publication date: September 13, 2011

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  • The Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds focuses on theoretical and applied, empirical, critical, rhetorical, creative, economic and professional approaches to the study of electronic games across platforms and genres as well as ludic and serious online environments.
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