Electroencephalographic Assessment of Player Experience: A Pilot Study in Affective Ludology

Document type: Journal Articles
Article type: Original article
Peer reviewed: Yes
Author(s): Lennart Nacke, Sophie Stellmach, Craig Lindley
Title: Electroencephalographic Assessment of Player Experience: A Pilot Study in Affective Ludology
Translated title: Boredom, Immersion, Flow — Electroencephalographic Assessment of Affective Level Designs in a First-Person Shooter Game
Journal: Simulation & Gaming: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Theory, Practice and Research
Year: 2011
Volume: 42
Issue: 5
Pagination: 632-655
ISSN: 1046-8781
Publisher: SAGE
URI/DOI: 10.1177/1046878110378140
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: School of Computing (Sektionen för datavetenskap och kommunikation)
School of Computing S-371 79 Karlskrona
+46 455 38 50 00
Authors e-mail: lennart.nacke@acm.org
Language: English
Abstract: Psychophysiological methods, such as electroencephalography (EEG), provide non-intrusive and reliable measurements of affective player experience. For studying player experience, we present a pilot study and its initial results to solidify a research approach we call affective ludology, a research area concerned with the affective measurement of player-game interaction. The study investigates the impact of level design on brainwave activity measured with EEG and player experience measured with questionnaires; with the goal of understanding cognition, emotion, and player behavior from a psychological perspective. For this purpose, a methodology for assessing gameplay experience with subjective and objective measures was further developed that extends prior work in affective measurements of digital games. We report the result of this pilot study, the impact of three different level design conditions (boredom, immersion, and flow) on EEG and subjective indicators of gameplay experience. Results from the subjective gameplay experience questionnaire support the validity of our level design conditions. Patterns of EEG spectral power show that the immersion level design elicits more activity in the theta band, which may support a relationship between virtual spatial navigation or exploration and theta activity. Our research shows that facets of gameplay experience can be assessed with measures of affective ludology, such as EEG, in which cognitive patterns emerge from different level designs.
Subject: Human Work Science\Human Computer Interaction
Digital Game Development\General
Keywords: Game experience; game design; level design; psychophysiology; affect; EEG; self-report measures; quantitative study; player experience; affective ludology