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Mapping attention during gameplay: Assessment of behavioral and ERP markers in an auditory oddball task
Citation key nunezcastellar2019a
Author Núñez Castellar, Elena Patricia and Antons, Jan‐Niklas and Marinazzo, Daniele and Van Looy, Jan
Pages 1–13
Year 2019
ISSN 1469-8986
DOI 10.1111/psyp.13347
Journal Psychophysiology
Volume 2019
Number e13347
Month mar
Note online
Publisher John Wiley and Sons, Inc
How Published Fullpaper
Abstract Video games are enjoyed most when the level and speed of the game match the players' skills. An optimal balance between challenges and skills triggers the subjective experience of “flow,” a focused motivation leading to a feeling of spontaneous joy. The present research investigates the behavioral and neural correlates of a paradigm aimed to assess the players' subjective experience during gameplay. Attentional engagement changes were assessed first at the behavioral level and in a second stage by means of EEG recordings. An auditory novelty oddball paradigm was implemented as a secondary task while subjects played in three conditions: boredom, frustration, and flow. We found higher reaction times and error rates in the flow condition. In a second stage, EEG time domain analysis revealed a significantly delayed response‐locked frontocentral negative deflection during flow, likely signaling the reallocation of attentional resources. Source reconstruction analyses showed that the brain regions responsible for the genesis of this negativity were located within the medial frontal cortex. Frequency domain analyses showed a significant power increase only in the alpha band for the flow condition. Our results showed that this alpha power enhancement was correlated with faster reaction times. This suggests that frontal alpha changes recorded as maximal at the midfrontal lines during flow might be related to inhibitory top‐down cognitive control processes.
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