AAAI Publications, Fourteenth Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference

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Affect-Based Early Prediction of Player Mental Demand and Engagement for Educational Games
Joseph B. Wiggins, Mayank Kulkarni, Wookhee Min, Bradford Mott, Kristy Elizabeth Boyer, Eric Wiebe, James Lester

Last modified: 2018-09-25


Player affect is a central consideration in the design of game-based learning environments. Affective indicators such as facial expressions exhibited during gameplay may support building more robust player models and adaptation modules. In game-based learning, predicting player mental demand and engagement from player affect is a particularly promising approach to helping create more effective gameplay. This paper reports on a predictive player-modeling approach that observes player affect during early interactions with a game-based learning environment and predicts selfreports of mental demand and engagement at the conclusion of gameplay sessions. The findings show that automatically detected facial expressions such as those associated with joy, disgust, sadness, and surprise are significant predictors of players’ self-reported engagement and mental demand at the end of gameplay interactions. The results suggest that it is possible to create affect-based predictive player models that can enable proactively tailored gameplay by anticipating player mental demand and engagement.

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