Why are gamers inverting their controls? How did a thousand volunteers cause one question


It’s fair to say that it was not anticipated by anyone. I predicted moderate interest among experienced readers of the gaming section when the Guardian published my article on the Visual Perception and Attention Lab at Brunel University London and how it aimed to study why certain gamers reverse their controls. I figured we would get a few dozen answers when I put a call at the end of the article asking volunteers to engage in a series of virtual research experiments. That didn’t happen, though.

More than 1,250,000 individuals have read the post at the time of this article. Our phone alerts went wild the moment the article went online,” says Dr. Jennifer Corbett, who is leading the study with colleague Dr. Jaap Munneke. “We had more than 100 participants in less than a couple of hours, and we had more than 500 by the end of the day. We already have more than 1,000 volunteers, and we are very thankful.” According to Corbett, the lab currently has the resources to test about 100 participants in the first exploratory study, but they are working on ways to support follow-up studies so that every eligible volunteer can be tested. “There are so many questions that we can pursue – we just need to find the time and money to keep going! “As the emails rolled in, Corbett says, it became clear that respondents were very invested in the issue. “We received hundreds of personal emails with very interesting stories,” she says. “People are enthusiastic about the topic – gamers and non-gamers alike – and are personally interested in it.

From how you look at Google Maps to how you regulate power wheelchairs, the investment applies to everything. We found a pattern in which in their younger years people inverted and then unexpectedly shifted to non-inverted in their 30s.

And yeah, we know… The flight simulator has had an effect on many people. In follow-up research, there is an ever-growing list of questions we would like to explore! “The gamers weren’t the only ones to react to the plot.

Academics and academic organizations around the world who are also interested in games and digital interface design have also approached Corbett and her team. With inquiries from developers and console manufacturers, the gaming industry has also expressed interest. “We are still a little shocked at the response to what we thought was a side project of Covid that literally turned into a console overnight.”

“But great things could be accomplished with more projects like this, where researchers collaborate with the public and industry, and with easier staff transitions between academia and industry. “This experience has opened our eyes to the potential of well-trained researchers who can help revolutionize the gaming and AI industries,” Corbett says. “We only need the time, resources and competent “Right now, the lab is busy hiring more researchers and figuring out how to process 1,000 applications, where normally a handful would be a success. “There are maybe 100 individuals in the world who would normally be interested in our research – and that’s because they’re doing the same research,” Corbett says. “Highly trained cognitive and perceptual scientists work passionately in our field to respond to the same research.


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