Though I’ve been working in the neuroscience field for several years now, I’ve never been to a Society for Neuroscience conference before. I arrived at McCormick Place in Chicago yesterday not sure what to expect. I was told that it was massive, but I had no idea just what almost 30,000 scientists all in one place looked like. Saying I was a little overwhelmed would be a bit of an understatement. Still, it was fascinating to think that the best neuroscientists from all over the world were here, and I get to walk among them.
My poster board was located in the back of the hall, in the section reserved for “Emotion: Information Processing” themed posters.
For the last several months at HCD, I’ve been working on and refining methods for studying emotional responses to video games. When deciding what to check out at the SfN meeting, I wanted to focus on seeing what other scientists were doing in this area. I tracked down two researchers from UC Denver named Ryan Farero and David Albeck, who were tackling video game violence.
In their studies, they wanted to know how playing a violent video game can change the way a person reacts to emotionally charged visual stimuli. They used EEG to measure this, and had Grand Theft Auto IV as the violent game stimuli. Participants also completed a personality questionnaire assessing altruism. They found that the more altruistic people became more sensitized to violence after violent game play, and the less altruistic people became more desensitized. It was interesting stuff, considering all the allegations blaming video games for violent behavior that just don’t seem to go away.
The titles of their posters:
“Altruism effects on event-related potentials following violent video game play”
“The magnitude of violent acts committed in a video game alters the EEG response to violent images shown after playing the game”
Other interesting posters dealing with emotion:
“Understanding emotion in the brain: Comparing categorical and dimensional models of emotion using multivariate pattern analysis”
“The effect of dynamic facial expressions on subsequent emotional information processing: An fMRI study”
“Negatively connoted music increases brain activity in the prefrontal cortex: A NIRS study”