Computer games make players feel and think alike

Washington: People go through similar emotions and display matching brainwaves while playing a computer game, a new study has found.

Scientists at the Aalto University in Finland found that playing computer games can bring players' emotional responses and brain activity into unison.

In the study, test participants played a computer game called Hedgewars, in which they managed their own team of animated hedgehogs and in turns shot the opposing team with ballistic artillery.

The goal was 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.

Researchers 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," said researcher Michiel Sovijarvi-Spape.

They found the more competitive the gaming gets, the more in sync are the emotional responses of the players.

A possible explanation of the findings is that the physical linkage of emotion may work to compensate a possibly faltering social bond while competing in a gaming setting, researchers said.