Competitive Gaming Puts Gamers' Brainwaves in Perfectly Synced-Up Harmony

By Gerald Lynch on at

Multiplayer gaming brings people together -- just ask anyone who has feigned a smile after being hit on a Mario Kart finishing line by a blue shell. But it now seems they also bring us together in never-before-realised physical ways too.

A team of Finnish researchers hailing from the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology has found that playing computer games can cause two gamers' emotional responses and brain activity to fall into sync.

Measuring facial muscular twitches and brain signals, the researchers found that gamers experience similar emotions and brain activity patterns whilst competing against one another.

"It's well known that people who communicate face to face will start to imitate each other. People adopt each other's poses and gestures, much like infectious yawning," researcher Michiel Sovijarvi-Spape said. "What is less known is that the very physiology of interacting people shows a type of mimicry -- which we call synchrony or linkage."

The effects grew in intensity as gaming sessions became more competitive, and gamers also experienced an increase in negative emotions during the testing. That's what being on the receiving end of a Call of Duty kill-streak will do for you. [UPI]