Proceedings of the 3rd international Conference on Fun and Games (Leuven, Belgium, September 15-17, 2010). Fun and Games '10. ACM, New York, NY, 66-73.
Recent work in neuroscience suggests that there is a common coding in the brain between perception, imagination and execution of movement. Further, this common coding is considered to allow people to recognize their own movements when presented as abstract representations, and coordinate with these movements better. We are investigating how this 'own movement effect' could be extended to improve the interaction between players and game avatars, and how it might be leveraged to augment players' cognition. To examine this question, we have designed and developed a tangible puppet interface and 3D virtual environment that are tailored to investigate the mapping between player and avatar movements. In a set of two experiments, we show that when the puppet interface is used to transfer players' movements to the avatar, the players are able to recognize their own movements, when presented alongside others' movements. In both experiments, players did not observe their movements being transferred to the avatar, and the recognition occurred after a week of the transfer. Since the recognition effect persisted even with these two handicaps, we conclude that this is a robust effect, and the puppet interface is effective in personalizing an avatar, by transferring a player's own movements to the virtual character.