Neurophysiological methods for monitoring brain activity in serious games and virtual environments: a review

Manuel Ninaus, Silvia Erika Kober, Elisabeth Friedrich, Ian Dunwell, Sara De Freitas, Sylvester Arnab, Michela Ott, Milos Kravcik, Theodore Lim, Sandy Louchart, Francesco Bellotti, Anna Hannemann, Alasdair Thin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The use of serious games and virtual environments for learning is increasing worldwide. These technologies have the potential to collect live data from users through game-play and can be combined with neuroscientific methods such as EEG, fNIRS and fMRI. The several learning processes triggered by serious games are associated with specific patterns of activation that distributed in time and space over different neural networks. This paper explores the opportunities offered and challenges posed by neuroscientific methods when capturing user feedback and using the data to create greater user adaptivity in-game. Existing neuroscientific studies examining cortical correlates of game-based learning do not form a common or homogenous field. In contrast, they often have disparate research questions and are represented through a broad range of study designs and game genres. In this article, the range of studies and applications of neuroscientific methods in game-based learning are reviewed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-103
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning
Volume2014 Vol. 6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Neurophysiological methods
  • Brain; serious games
  • Games
  • Virtual reality
  • NIRS
  • EEG
  • fMRI
  • Neuroscience
  • Learning
  • Game based learning


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