Evaluating social and cognitive effects of video games using electroencephalography.
Wehbe, Rina R.
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Games User Research (GUR) is an area of evaluative player research and human-computer interaction (HCI) that aims to improve games, focused on a player’s understanding and on their experience when playing games. In this field, techniques are available to measure and understand user experience. These techniques each have their own strengths and weaknesses. To improve and extend GUR methodology, this thesis explores ways that electroencephalography (EEG) can be used as an evaluative measure as part of a mixed methodology. The thesis aims to improve the accuracy and richness of GUR results obtained using EEG. Hemispheric Frontal Alpha Asymmetry (HFAA) is reviewed in depth as a useful EEG technique to measure arousal in real time. HFAA, the EEG methodology proposed in this thesis is used in several experimental studies reported here to show new insights into the social and cognitive factors of gaming. The research presented in this thesis shows that player experience related to the social environment of a game does not necessarily arise from gameplay, but instead relies more on the expectations of a player than the current literature suggests. Additionally, the thesis introduces a new way to investigate player understanding and learning in games, using real-time data about the player’s brain state. This is particularly useful for game designers creating introductory tutorial mechanisms for their games. The result of this research is useful for both researchers investigating the human brain immersed in the virtual world of a video game and game designers wanting to use real-time user feedback to build their games.