Neurophysiological Correlates of Embodied Cognition in Games and Their Implications For Consciousness

Brendan Lehman

Behavioural Neuroscience & Department of Biology Laurentian University

Sudbury, Ontario

Supervisor: Dr. M.A. Persinger

Embodied Cognition

Cognitive Sciences

  • Enactivism (Varela, 1991)
    • organism + environment = cognition

Game Studies

  • Arjoranta (2013)
    • interfaces
    • interpretation
  • Lankoski & Järvelä (2012)
    • immersion has a brain basis

Consciousness Research

Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives
(Schneider & Velmans, 2008)

  • Not just awareness

Out-of-Body Experiences

  • Booth & Persinger (2009)
    • brain areas of OOBE

Immersion & Flow State

Cognitive Science

  • Csíkszentmihályi (1990)
    • flow zones
  • Dietrich (2004)
    • brain networks

Game Studies

  • Jenova Chen MFA (2006)
    • dynamic difficulty adjustment
  • Jennett, et al (2008)

Electroencephalography (EEG)

  • electrical activity

Stimulus & Design

TES V: Skyrim

  • obvious reasons
  • bleak falls dungeon
  • active vs. passive
  • 20 minutes
  • 4 participants
  • acoustic chamber

Analysis & Tools

Independent Component Analysis

  • EEGLAB
  • deconstruct complex signals

Cluster Analysis

  • numbers forming groups

Results

Primary Clusters

  • left & right hemispheres
  • frontal, temporal, parietal lobes

Results

Secondary Clusters

  • relevant areas

Brain Activation & Embodied Cognition

Brain Hemispheres

  • left = self
    right = other

OOBEs

  • not quite?

Enactivism

  • interaction of environment and self
  • individual interpretation
  • extension of consciousness?
    • de Chardin

Game Design

Future Direction

  • Brain activation and game mechanics
  • informed game design and innovation

Thank You!

Brendan Lehman

@neurochems

bx_lehman@laurentian.ca

Artwork from Shadertoy, by Cale Bradbury (@netgrind)

CGSA_Lehman - Google Slides