Creating a free account will enable you to subscribe to our daily and weekly email newsletters, as well as customize your reading experience to show only the categories most relevant to you.
Signing up only take a few minutes, so why not give it a try and see what you've been missing out on.
It's well known that people who communicate face-to-face will start to imitate each other. People adopt each other's poses and gestures, much like infectious yawning.
What is less known is that the very physiology of interacting people shows a type of mimicry - which we call synchrony or linkage, explains Michiel Sovijärvi-Spapé.
In the study, test participants play a computer game called Hedgewars, in which they manage their own team of animated hedgehogs and in turns shoot the opposing team with ballistic artillery. The goal is to destroy the opposing team's hedgehogs. The research team varied the amount of competitiveness in the gaming situation: players teamed up against the computer and they were also pinned directly against each other.
The players were measured for facial muscle reactions with facial electromyography, or fEMG, and their brainwaves were measured with electroencephalography, EEG.
Replicating previous studies, we found linkage in the fEMG: two players showed both similar emotions and similar brainwaves at similar times. We further observed a linkage also in the brainwaves with EEG, tells Sovijärvi-Spapé.
A striking discovery indicates further that the more competitive the gaming gets, the more in sync are the emotional responses of the players. The test subjects were to report emotions themselves, and negative emotions were associated with the linkage effect.
Although counterintuitive, the discovered effect increases as a game becomes more competitive. And the more competitive it gets, the more the players' positive emotions begin to reflect each other. All the while their experiences of negative emotions increase.
The results present promising upshots for further study.
Feeling others' emotions could be particularly beneficial in competitive settings: the linkage may enable one to better anticipate the actions of opponents.
Another interpretation suggested by the group is that the physical linkage of emotion may work to compensate a possibly faltering social bond while competing in a gaming setting.
Since our participants were all friends before the game, we can speculate that the linkage is most prominent when a friendship is 'threatened' while competing against each other, ponders Sovijärvi-Spapé.
The research was conducted in collaboration between Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT, Aalto University School of Science, Aalto University School of Business and the University of Helsinki.
Spapé, Michiel M., Kivikangas, J. M., Järvelä, S., Kosunen, I., Jacucci, G. & Ravaja, G. (2013). Keep your opponents close: Social context affects EEG and fEMG linkage in a turn-based computer game. Published: Nov 20, 2013 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0078795
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click 'references' tab above for source.
Visit our Neurology / Neuroscience category page for the latest news on this subject.
Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:
Aalto University. "Brains feel and think alike when playing computer games." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 25 Nov. 2013. Web.
8 Mar. 2014. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/269219>
Aalto University. (2013, November 25). "Brains feel and think alike when playing computer games." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
Please note: If no author information is provided, the source is cited instead.
If you write about specific medications, operations, or procedures please do not name healthcare professionals by name.
For any corrections of factual information, or to contact our editorial team, please use our feedback form. Please send any medical news or health news press releases to:
Note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. For more information, please read our terms and conditions.
This page was printed from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/269219.php
Visit www.medicalnewstoday.com for medical news and health news headlines posted throughout the day, every day.
© 2004-2014 All rights reserved. MNT (logo) is the registered trade mark of MediLexicon International Limited.