Neurophysiological methods for monitoring brain activity in serious games and virtual environments: a review

Manuel Ninaus, Silvia Erika Kober, Elisabeth V.C. Friedrich, Ian Dunwell, Sarah de Freitas, Sylvester Arnab, Michela Ott, Milos Kravcik, Theodore Lim, Sandy Louchart, Francesco Bellotti, Anna Hannemann, Alasdair G. Thin, Riccardo Berta, Guilherme Wood, Christa Neuper

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    27 Citations (Scopus)


    The use of serious games and virtual environments for learning is increasing worldwide. These technologies have the potential to collect live data from users through game play and can be combined with neuroscientific methods such as EEG, fNIRS and fMRI. The several learning processes triggered by serious games are associated with specific patterns of activation that distributed in time and space over different neural networks. This paper explores the opportunities offered and challenges posed by neuroscientific methods when capturing user feedback and using the data to create greater user adaptivity in game. Existing neuroscientific studies examining cortical correlates of game-based learning do not form a common or homogenous field. In contrast, they often have disparate research questions and are represented through a broad range of study designs and game genres. In this paper, the range of studies and applications of neuroscientific methods in game-based learning are reviewed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)78-103
    JournalInternational Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Bibliographical note

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    • Brain
    • EEG
    • Electroencephalography
    • FMRI
    • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
    • Game-based learning
    • Games
    • Learning
    • Near infrared spectroscopy
    • Neurophysiological methods
    • Neuroscience
    • NIRS
    • Serious games
    • Virtual environments
    • Virtual reality


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