informa
News

One way horror games work on you

In a new feature, neuroscientist Maral Tajerian explores the precise ways in which horror games affect your brain -- pointing out which animal instincts and mechanisms they work on.
In a new feature, neuroscientist Maral Tajerian explores the precise ways in which horror games affect your brain -- pointing out which animal instincts and mechanisms they work on. One aspect of the brain that games can trigger is mirror neurons -- "neurons in certain regions of the brain that are active when an animal performs an action, or observes another individual performing that same action," Tajerian writes. In other words, when you observe something happening on screen that you can relate to -- to an extent, you experience it yourself. Tajerian offers an example from the Silent Hill franchise: "In the Silent Hill series, similar mechanisms would elicit anxiety and disgust when players are given the choice to stick their hand into a hole in a wall or to take something out of a toilet." According to Tajerian, some horror developers are taking active advantage of this mechanism now. Frictional Games' Thomas Grip (Amnesia: The Dark Descent) last year said "the involvement of mirror neurons is important when the empathy factor is high. In other words, you can't help but put yourself in the protagonist's shoes," writes Tajerian. The full feature, which examines other ways games like Dead Space and the above-mentioned titles affect you, is live now on Gamasutra.

Latest Jobs

Infinity Ward

Woodland Hills, California
11.3.21
Sr. Multiplayer Design Scripter/Programmer

Disbelief

Cambridge, Massachusetts
11.3.21
Jr. Programmer

XSEED

Torrance, California
11.3.21
Head of Marketing
More Jobs   

CONNECT WITH US

Register for a
Subscribe to
Follow us

Game Developer Account

Game Developer Newsletter

@gamedevdotcom

Register for a

Game Developer Account

Gain full access to resources (events, white paper, webinars, reports, etc)
Single sign-on to all Informa products

Register
Subscribe to

Game Developer Newsletter

Get daily Game Developer top stories every morning straight into your inbox

Subscribe
Follow us

@gamedevdotcom

Follow us @gamedevdotcom to stay up-to-date with the latest news & insider information about events & more