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A Neuroergonomic Approach to Individual and Team Performance Assessment in E-gaming

Thursday, June 20, 2024

10:00 AM-12:00 PM

BIOMED PhD Research Proposal

A Neuroergonomic Approach to Individual and Team Performance Assessment in E-gaming

Jan Lawrence Watson, PhD Candidate
School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems
Drexel University

Hasan Ayaz, PhD
Associate Professor
School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems
Drexel University
Advancing the understanding of the neurophysiological function that underlies real-world human performance is a primary goal of neuroergonomics- a field at the intersection of cognitive science, neuroscience, biomedical engineering, psychology, and human factors research. The Neuroergonomic approach utilizes mobile and wearable neurotechnologies to record biomedical signals in concert with behavior in natural everyday settings to provide the opportunity for understanding the continuum of the brain, body, behavior, and environment in both individual and team outcomes.

The objective of this proposal is to apply the neuroergonomic approach to the assessment of electronic game (e-game) players of both novice and advanced levels of experience, during discrete cognitive lab task battery performance and during both individual and team e-game competition. The growth of e-game popularity is exponentially increasing, influencing society and individuals of diverse backgrounds. As e-games have become an integral part of the lives of nearly 3 generations, the effects of gaming have received considerable attention in both media and scientific literature. With such a massive influence, the natural question arises as to whether the activity of e-gaming, so deeply embedded in daily life, can serve as a viable training ground for skilled professions that add value and benefit to society. The experience and learning that is required to hone skills in specialized fields such as the military, aviation and surgery often require years of domain-specific training to enable success and costs countless time, effort, and financial resources. As leveraging the preexisting tools and habits of the everyday household for the development of high impact skills would change the landscape of specialized training, understanding if e-games improve perception and cognition and evaluating the cognitive-behavioral impact of e-gaming experience on both individual and collaborative performance is of high priority. Using a new generation of wearable sensors, the brain and peripheral nervous system can be monitored to understand the interplay between central and autonomic neurovisceral function during e-gaming task performance as well as the impact of e-gaming experience on cognition and performance. To specifically target a cognitive-perceptual skill set with real-world relevance to the human operator, a first-person shooter (FPS) gaming experimental platform is utilized to achieve an evaluation of ecologically valid point of view (POV) task scenarios that not only require both bottom-up perceptual and top-down attentional processing of sensory stimuli but also draw upon the socio-cognitive resources needed to employ cooperative strategies relevant to real-life scenarios.      

The proposed thesis will provide several novel contributions to a knowledge base that can further both individual and team performance research. First, we investigate the role of FPS player gameplay experience on brain, body, and behavioral measures as it relates to discrete cognitive laboratory task performance. Here we choose classical tasks that are highly validated and target relevant cognitive domains to assess e-gamers’ cognitive control with both behavioral performance and neurophysiological measures. Next, we evaluate the same cohort during the complex real-world task of single-player FPS game scenarios to determine if cognitive and perceptual skills from discrete cognitive laboratory tasks relate to the complex, ecologically valid FPS platform. Finally, we evaluate teamwork-related behavioral and neurophysiological measures during multi-player FPS gaming to determine if individual measures from solo play relate to dyadic team settings, as well as delineate the impact of team composition, proximity, and strategy on collaboration. The findings of this research will elucidate the effects of e-gaming experience on both individual and team cognition and further expand an understanding of the neurovisceral interplay required for successful complex task performance. By understanding the mechanisms of skill transfer and the effects of e-gaming on the cognitive-perceptual skill set, more efficient protocols and environments can be developed for the training of professionals in specialized domains.

Contact Information

Natalia Broz

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