The Temperature of Morality: A Behavioral Study Concerning the Effect of Moral Decisions on Facial Thermal Variations in Video Games

16th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG2021) 45 (2021)
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In this paper, we report on an experiment with The Walking Dead (TWD), which is a narrative-driven adventure game with morally charged decisions set in a post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies. This study aimed to identify physiological markers of moral decisions and non-moral decisions using infrared thermal imaging (ITI). ITI is a non-invasive tool used to capture thermal variations due to blood flow in specific body regions that might be caused by sympathetic activity. Results show that moral decisions seem to elicit a significant decrease in temperature in the chin region 20 seconds after participants are presented with a moral decision. However, given the small sample involved, and the lack of significance in other regions, future studies might be needed to confirm the results obtained in this work.

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