Researchers in Finland say they've found that even when a video game is competitive, playing it appears to bring emotional responses and brain activity in sync.
In fact, the effect actually increases as a game gets more competitive, the researchers out of the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology, the University of Helsinki, and Aalto University -- all in Finland -- report in the journal PLOS One.
In the study, participants played the game Hedgewars, which involves both managing one's own team of hedgehogs and using ballistic artillery to destroy as many of the opposing team's hedgehogs as possible. Basically, whoever kills more hedgehogs wins. To mix up the type and degree of competition, sometimes the players were playing one another, other times the computer.
All the while, the players were being monitored using facial electromyography (fEMG) to measure facial muscle reactions and electroencephalography (EEG) to measure brain activity.… Read more