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Exploiting physiological changes during the flow experience for assessing virtual-reality game design.

Michailidis, L., 2021. Exploiting physiological changes during the flow experience for assessing virtual-reality game design. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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Abstract

Immersive experiences are considered the principal attraction of video games. Achieving a healthy balance between the game's demands and the user's skills is a particularly challenging goal. However, it is a coveted outcome, as it gives rise to the flow experience – a mental state of deep concentration and game engagement. When this balance fractures, the player may experience considerable disinclination to continue playing, which may be a product of anxiety or boredom. Thus, being able to predict manifestations of these psychological states in video game players is essential for understanding player motivation and designing better games. To this end, we build on earlier work to evaluate flow dynamics from a physiological perspective using a custom video game. Although advancements in this area are growing, there has been little consideration given to the interpersonal characteristics that may influence the expression of the flow experience. In this thesis, two angles are introduced that remain poorly understood. First, the investigation is contextualized in the virtual reality domain, a technology that putatively amplifies affective experiences, yet is still insufficiently addressed in the flow literature. Second, a novel analysis setup is proposed, whereby the recorded physiological responses and psychometric self-ratings are combined to assess the effectiveness of our game's design in a series of experiments. The analysis workflow employed heart rate and eye blink variability, and electroencephalography (EEG) as objective assessment measures of the game's impact, and self-reports as subjective assessment measures. These inputs were submitted to a clustering method, cross-referencing the membership of the observations with self-report ratings of the players they originated from. Next, this information was used to effectively inform specialized decoders of the flow state from the physiological responses. This approach successfully enabled classifiers to operate at high accuracy rates in all our studies. Furthermore, we addressed the compression of medium-resolution EEG sensors to a minimal set required to decode flow. Overall, our findings suggest that the approaches employed in this thesis have wide applicability and potential for improving game designing practices.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Uncontrolled Keywords:flow experience; anxiety; boredom; virtual reality; personality; electrocardiography; electroencephalography; electrooculography; HRV; fuzzy clustering; video games; immersion
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:35981
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:07 Sep 2021 14:57
Last Modified:07 Sep 2021 14:57

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