Phasic Emotional Reactions to Video Game Events: A Psychophysiological Investigation

N. Ravaja, T. Saari, M. Salminen, J. Laarni, K. Kallinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

140 Citations (Scopus)


We examined emotional valence- and arousal-related phasic psychophysiological responses to different video game events among 36 young adults who played Super Monkey Ball 2 (Sega Corporation, Tokyo, Japan). Event-related changes in zygomaticus major, corrugator supercilii, and orbicularis oculi electromyographic activity, skin conductance level, and cardiac interbeat intervals were recorded. Instantaneous game events elicited reliable psychophysiological responses indexing valence and arousal. A largely linear, positive dose-response relationship between rewards obtained in the game and phasic increases in arousal was revealed. The valence of the emotional response varied as a function of the player's active participation (active coping). In addition, not only positive events, but also some putatively negative events elicited positively valenced arousal. The findings extend our understanding of the phasic changes in the emotional state during video games and a dynamic flow of events and action and may have several applied implications (e.g., for game design).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-367
JournalMedia Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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