Behind the Door: Exploring Horror VR Game Interaction and its Influence on Anxiety

Marta Ferreira, Ana Pinha, Micaela Fonseca, Phil Lopes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Video games are increasingly present and are currently a dominant vehicle not only for entertainment, but also for information. This position has generated a rapid growth and consequent increase in competitiveness in the game development industry, which has required the exploration of new techniques to engage users. Considering the crucial role of emotions in this domain, an increasingly appreciated approach is the integration of psychophysiology in this context. This project is thus included in the field of psychophysiological analysis, framed within the branch of video games, and consists of the study of different actions and how they can influence emotional intensity. To understand the emotional reactions of players, two versions of a horror game in virtual reality were created, which differ in the way users interact with doors along a virtual scenario. The objective of this work is to understand if more intricate interactions can increase the intensity of human bodily reactions. Thus, to observe this potential phenomenon physiological data was acquired: electrodermal activity, electrocardiogram and respiration; in addition to self-reported questionnaires. Results showed that the version that had a more positive global evaluation by the participants was also the one that presented a higher variation in some physiological indicators, such as heart rate and respiratory signal amplitude. Despite this, no significant differences were observed between both versions, indicating that further study is necessary for any in-depth conclusions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFoundations of Digital Games 2023 (FDG 2023), April 12–14, 2023, Lisbon, Portugal
EditorsPhil Lopes, Filipe Luz, Antonios Liapis, Henrik Engstrom
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherACM - Association for Computing Machinery
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)978-145039856-5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023
Event18th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, FDG 2023 - Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 11 Apr 202314 Apr 2023

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery


Conference18th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, FDG 2023


  • Affective Gaming
  • electrocardiogram
  • electrodermal activity
  • human-computer interaction
  • respiration
  • virtual reality


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