A research project at a Scottish University is underway to explore the effects that different types of music have on our gaming performance, it emerged this week.
The work-in-progress study by 24-year old Gianna Cassidy at Glasgow Caledonian University has spent the past few months monitoring player responses to different types of music while playing Xbox driving classic Project Gotham Racing.
Conducted at the recently opened eMotion Laboratory, Cassidy has been able to closely monitor over 80 subjects using eye tracking device, a two-way mirror and custom control pads that measure the pressure on each button and the amount of movement players make during play.
Each player had their racing performances (lap times, accuracy, cones hit, etc) closely monitored during gameplay sessions with the Bizarre Creations title. Players were asked to listen to either aggressive music (such as manic mask wearing loons Slipknot) or mellow music (delicate Mancunian indie FLOWARS I Am Kloot, one such example out of the 40 different artists used) - but the findings so far haven't been quite as expected.
"I would have hoped that aggressive music would have made people drive a little faster," Cassidy asserted, although pointed out that players were less accurate and drove into barrier and cones more than when driving to mellow music.
Cassidy was even more surprised at the results of driving to relaxing tunes: "I would have maybe expected it would make them more relaxed and would make them more accurate," but apparently not, the results indicated. Although their driving was distinctly slower, players felt their own performance much faster than the test results suggested.
The best results of all came when subjects had no music to listen to, but the worst performances in the series of tests came when subjects couldn't hear their own car at all. Measuring other variables, it emerged that extroverts were more reckless when listening to Slipknot than the shy retiring types. Now there's a shock.
In her next set of experiments, Cassidy plans to measure how players respond to their favourite music, and also plans to extend the research to other types of games, such as Halo or The Sims. As with the PGR tests, levels of aggression and playing styles will be monitored while listening to the rampant howls of death metal and the gentle, plaintive waft of minor chords strummed with the exquisite pain of unrequited love.
Our own independent studies here at EG indicate that gamers that listen to Slipknot generally grow their hair, learn to play the drums, talk about pinch harmonics a lot and wear black. Our application for government funding to further our studies is in the post