Identifying the role of attention and cognition within videogame immersion using neuroimaging methods
Immersion is a state in which players are engaged to a degree of total absorption that inhibits the ability to correctly report one’s surroundings or time. Present theory on immersion has developed a coherent model that provides sufficient evidence to distinguish itself from other cognitive concepts such as presence, attention, selective attention, absorption and flow. However, immersion research thus far has been hindered by difficulties with taking in-vivo measurements of cognition and physiological responses during videogame play.
This presents an ideal opportunity for implementations of neuroimaging methods to carry out such real time measurements of attention, as well as other cognitive processes and their roles in videogame immersion. Using various combinations of neural and physiological methods such as skin conductance, eye tracking, electroencephalography and even functional magnetic resonance imaging, it is now possible to obtain richer data in immersion research. The goal of this project is to apply such methods in order to better define and measure videogame immersion, identify the cognitive processes and hierarchical models that are involved in immersion and ultimately contribute to the literature in videogame immersion.
Though neuroimaging is limited by statistical sensitivity, challenging experimental logistics and non-ideal lab environments, they are still presently the best tools available to obtain fine-grain data of attention and the many other cognitive components of immersion. Such knowledge would contribute significantly to a better understanding of effective development of videogames, as well as educational tools.
I am an MPsych Psychology graduate from the University of York, having studied Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience & Neuroimaging for four years. My Master’s research was primarily in vision, attempting to manipulate and record parahippocampal responses to visual stimuli selected parametrically by computer algorithms. During my degree I also spent much of my time researching videogames, studying the literature on the effects of videogame play on sleep, and working with a IGGI PhD student as a lab assistant. Between my degree and my PhD, I have also been working as a data analyst at Digital Creativity Labs researching skill learning in large gaming populations from Riot Games’ League of Legends.