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August 25, 2007

Video Game Studies Fear in the Brain

In the journal Science, London researchers investigating how the brain reacts in anticipation of an imminent threat used a Pac Man-like video game to guide test subjects. Participants were pursued by a "virtual predator" (why can't they just say Inky?), and when caught, instead of unfolding and blipping out like in the classic game, they received an electric shock, which gradually grew in intensity while researchers monitored brain activity. No plans for the games release on Playstation 3 or the Wii have been announced yet.

short summary: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070823/sc_nm/brain_fear_dc

Science article citation:
When Fear Is Near: Threat Imminence Elicits Prefrontal-Periaqueductal Gray Shifts in Humans
Dean Mobbs, Predrag Petrovic, Jennifer L. Marchant, Demis Hassabis, Nikolaus Weiskopf, Ben Seymour, Raymond J. Dolan, and Christopher D. Frith
Science 24 August 2007 317: 1079-1083 [DOI: 10.1126/science.1144298] (in Reports)

Posted by undergrad at 12:11 PM | TrackBack

August 16, 2007

Play MMO's, make friends

A new study by the U.K.'s Nottingham Trent University finds that "gamers make good friends with the people they meet in their virtual worlds, with almost half meeting in real-life situations and one in ten going on to develop physical relationships." The study goes on to analyze the types of friendships and bonds that players form with each other through interactions in game worlds, as well as the ways that gamers express themselves in MMOs in comparison to the physical world.

GameDaily Biz has a summary here:

as does GamaSutra:

The full study titled "Social Interactions in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Gamers" will be published in the journal "CyberPsychology and Behavior," which UIUC has online access to from this link:

Posted by undergrad at 12:22 PM | TrackBack

August 6, 2007

Preserving Virtual Worlds

Yesterday the Library of Congress, through its National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP), announced funding in the amount of $2.15 million across eight partnerships as part of its new Preserving Creative America initiative to address the long-term preservation of creative content in digital form. The eight partners include content producers from the creative arts industry such as BMS/Chace, the Stock Artists' Alliance, ArtStor, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The two academic institutions selected for awards include Illinois (GSLIS and the Library) and UCLA's Film and Television Archive.

The Illinois project, titled "Preserving Virtual Worlds," aims to explore methods for preserving digital games and interactive fiction. The partners will develop basic standards for metadata and content representation and conduct a series of archiving case studies for early video games, electronic literature and Second Life, an interactive multiplayer game. Second Life content participants include Life to the Second Power, Democracy Island and the International Spaceflight Museum. Partners with Illinois in the project include the University of Maryland, Stanford University, Rochester Institute of Technology and Linden Lab. Sarah Shreeves and Tim Donohue of the Library's IDEALS digital repository program will work closely with the project partners and Jerry McDonough from GSLIS, who is the Principal Investigator, on the archiving case studies for early video games. We look to develop synergies with the Library's Gaming inititive as well. The Illinois project is funded for two years at $590,000.

More information on the Preserving Creative America program and the eight funded partners is available at the Library of Congress' site:

Posted by undergrad at 9:52 AM | TrackBack