What does touch tell us about emotions in touchscreen-based gameplay?

Y Gao, N Bianchi-Berthouze, Hongying Meng
in ACM Transactions on Computer - Human Interaction, Journal article


The increasing number of people playing games on touch-screen mobile phones raises the question of whether touch behaviours reflect players' emotional states. This prospect would not only be a valuable evaluation indicator for game designers, but also for real-time personalization of the game experience. Psychology studies on acted touch behaviour show the existence of discriminative affective profiles. In this paper, finger-stroke features during gameplay on an iPod were extracted and their discriminative power analysed. Machine learning algorithms were used to build systems for automatically discriminating between four emotional states (Excited, Relaxed, Frustrated, Bored), two levels of arousal and two levels of valence. Accuracy reached between 69% and 77% for the four emotional states, and higher results (~89%) were obtained for discriminating between two levels of arousal and two levels of valence. We conclude by discussing the factors relevant to the generalization of the results to applications other than games.