December 23, 2012

Media Neuroscience Lab Profile

Here is a new research lab [1] recently founded by my colleague Rene Weber [2] at UC-Santa Barbara. The Media Neuroscience Lab does research at the intersection of Virtual Worlds and Neuroscience. Their emphasis is on using physiological data [3] to understand the substrates of communication and cognition during use of entertainment media and other virtual worlds. Check it out.

Figure 1. This figure features an example from the lab's most recent paper [4] featured in a summary post on the Neuroskeptic blog [5]. Images courtesy [4] (middle, bottom) and [5] (top).


[1] the Media Neuroscience Lab is affiliated with the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind and the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies (both at UCSB). The lab also maintains a Twitter feed.

[2] a pioneer in the area of applying innovative neuroimaging techniques to the study of video gameplay and television watching. He and I have worked together on the role of dynamic attentional processing during immersion in virtual environments (so far unpublished).

Picture of Dr. Weber in front of his primary scientific instrument.

[3] the lab also maintains an archive of neuroimaging (fMRI) and psychophysiological (Biopac) datasets if you are interested.

[4] Klasen, M., Weber, R., Kircher, T.T., Mathiak, K.A., and Mathiak, K. (2012). Neural contributions to flow experience during video game playing. Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience, 7(4), 485-495.

The free-viewing condition (fMRI experimental design) was used to understand what the brain is doing while the subjects played "Tactical Ops" (Figure 1, middle). The results were interpreted in the context of Csíkszentmihályi's flow theory of experiential cognitive (in this case, neural) processing.

[5] Post from Neuroskeptic blog on their recent paper "Neural contributions to flow experience during video game playing": How Your Brain Gets In The Game. Neuroskeptic, May 23, 2011.

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