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Correlation Between Heart Rate, Electrodermal Activity and Player Experience in First-Person Shooter Games

Anders Drachen, Lennart E. Nacke, Georgies Yannakakis, and Anja L. Pedersen. 2010. Correlation Between Heart Rate, Electrodermal Activity and Player Experience in First-Person Shooter Games. In R. Wainess and S. N. Spencer. Eds. Proceedings of ACM Siggraph 2010. Los Angeles, CA, United States. ACM, 49-54. doi:10.1145/1836135.1836143

Abstract

Psychophysiological methods are becoming more popular in game research as covert and reliable measures of affective player experience, emotions, and cognition. Since player experience is not well understood, correlations between self-reports from players and psychophysiological data may provide a quantitative understanding of this experience. Measurements of electrodermal activity (EDA) and heart rate (HR) allow making inferences about player arousal (i.e., excitement) and are easy to deploy. This paper reports a case study on HR and EDA correlations with subjective gameplay experience, testing the feasibility of these measures in commercial game development contexts. Results indicate a significant correlation (p < 0.01) between psychophysiological arousal (i.e., HR, EDA) and self-reported gameplay experience. However, the covariance between psychophysiological measures and self-reports varies between the two measures. The results are consistent across three different contemporary major commercial first-person shooter (FPS) games (Prey, Doom 3, and Bioshock).