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Logo of behbrainBioMed CentralBiomed Central Web Sitesearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBehavioral and Brain Functions : BBFJournal Front Page
 
Behav Brain Funct. 2012; 8: 34.
Published online Jul 19, 2012. doi:  10.1186/1744-9081-8-34
PMCID: PMC3476392
Perspective and agency during video gaming influences spatial presence experience and brain activation patterns
Michael Havranek,corresponding author1 Nicolas Langer,2 Marcus Cheetham,2 and Lutz Jäncke2
1Clinic for Affective Disorders, University Clinic of Psychiatry Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
2Department of Neuropsychology, Psychological Institute, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Michael Havranek: m.havranek/at/bli.uzh.ch; Nicolas Langer: n.langer/at/psychologie.uzh.ch; Marcus Cheetham: m.cheetham/at/psychologie.uzh.ch; Lutz Jäncke: l.jaencke/at/psychologie.uzh.ch
Received November 2, 2011; Accepted June 29, 2012.
Abstract
Background
The experience of spatial presence (SP), i.e., the sense of being present in a virtual environment, emerges if an individual perceives himself as 1) if he were actually located (self-location) and 2) able to act in the virtual environment (possible actions). In this study, two main media factors (perspective and agency) were investigated while participants played a commercially available video game.
Methods
The differences in SP experience and associated brain activation were compared between the conditions of game play in first person perspective (1PP) and third person perspective (3PP) as well as between agency, i.e., active navigation of the video game character (active), and non-agency, i.e., mere passive observation (passive). SP was assessed using standard questionnaires, and brain activation was measured using electroencephalography (EEG) and sLORETA source localisation (standard low-resolution brain electromagnetic tomography).
Results
Higher SP ratings were obtained in the 1PP compared with the 3PP condition and in the active compared with the passive condition. On a neural level, we observed in the 1PP compared with the 3PP condition significantly less alpha band power in the parietal, the occipital and the limbic cortex. In the active compared with the passive condition, we uncovered significantly more theta band power in frontal brain regions.
Conclusion
We propose that manipulating the factors perspective and agency influences SP formation by either directly or indirectly modulating the ego-centric visual processing in a fronto-parietal network. The neuroscientific results are discussed in terms of the theoretical concepts of SP.
Keywords: Spatial presence, Brain activation, Perspective, Agency, EEG, LORETA, Fronto-parietal network, Posterior parietal cortex, Premotor cortex
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