Applied Human-Machine and Media Interaction Modeling Group

Analysis of Brain and Behavior: Eye-Tracking, EEG, Website Data

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Eye-movement, brain activity, and web site log-file data can provide us with new information about human behavior.  Using this information, human behaviour can be better understood in many contexts.


This page lists some of the projects currently being investigated in which advanced brain activity analysis methods and eye-tracking analysis methods can be employed.

BULLETIN: Access to the MOST-EEG data mining algorithm is now provided via the ABV Sciences Data Processing Portal.
Data Processing Portal Button




·         Research: neuroscience studies to understand human behaviour and how our brain functions

·         Game Development: video game analysis to understand how to make a better (or easier) game

·         Web Site Optimization: web site usability and user behavior analysis to improve product sales


·         Objective Business Decisions: use behavioral customer data to help you improve sales; use sales and business operations data to help you achieve goals

·         Digital Advertising: content design for advertising using digital signs

·         Persona Identification: use web site log information to segment users by behavior and identify Behavioral Links


 * we are currently in the process of updating this site and related sites. The content will become stable in a few days  *

Modeling and Analysis

Brain Activity

Model Brain Activity Using Electroencephalographic Data  


MOST-EEG Shows Right-Brain Activities While Playing 3D Videogames

How Our Brains Function Under Task: Use Cognitive EEG or Cognitive Functional (CF-EEG) Methods 

Automated EEG Analysis is Good (pharmaceuticals, marketing, brain dysfunction, videogame design) 

Partnerships and Collaborations: Staying On Top 

MOST-EEG Guides Inferences: moving knowledge of brain function forward 

MOST-EEG and Pharmaceutical (1) Development (2) Re-Purposing (3) Comparisons: How we help your company with your drug research 

How to use the MOST-EEG methodology to create cognitive models: behavioural and drug interaction with cognition 

The Pharmaceutical Development Pipeline: Characteristics of Each Phase 

New Method for Pharmaco-EEG Research Called MOST-EEG 



The figure above is a model of brain activity constructed from EEG data collected while persons played a 1st-person video game. The game is based on the UnReal gaming engine.  Our automated EEG modeling methodology was used to show what areas of the brain are active and how the activities of each area of the brain are coordinated during game playing.

We can infer how people are using their brains to play the video game by viewing these results in the context of what is currently known about the role these areas of the brain play in human behavior.



While Playing Video Games

Applied to Digital Signs and Narrowcasting 

Behavioral Debugging and Optimization of Web Sites 

What About Behavior? Why WHY is important. 

Getting Best Web Site Eye-Tracking Results: Try a Behavioral Neuroscientist 

Research Project Blog: EEG & Eye-Tracking for Spatial Navigation 


Web Site Log Files

Irish Times Article: Research reveals video games are stimulating to the brain

10 December, 2009 (author Jason Walsh)


PARENTS BUYING video games this Christmas will draw comfort from new research suggesting that, in contrast to conventional wisdom, they do not turn kids’ brains to mush.

Just as the physical activity-based Nintendo Wii console convinced parents that computer games and sloth do not have to go hand in hand, new research suggests that video games stimulate the brain.

A multidisciplinary team of neuroscientists at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, has discovered that video games increase brain activity.

The team, consisting of neuroscientist and engineer Dr Philip Zeman, behavioural neurologist Dr Ron Skelton and PhD student Sharon Lee, is set to publish findings indicating that playing video games utilises the area of the brain associated with spatial reasoning and navigation.

“We have created a [brain scanning] tool that dynamically creates models of brain function,” said Dr Zeman. “The concept behind the tool is that if a researcher is interested in researching brain activity associated with a certain activity, they can acquire the data and feed it into the tool.”

The team found that, when playing three-dimensional games, the brain’s right hemisphere was stimulated. As players navigated the virtual worlds, the areas of the brain associated with spatial cognition became particularly active.

“Playing a video game is complex behaviour,” said Dr Zeman. “It’s not like flashing a light at someone or showing them a picture. The tool has opened up a Pandora’s box about what we’re going to learn about the brain. We’re going to disprove things and prove new things.”

The results grew out of a project to increase understanding of the potential for recovery in patients with brain injuries.

“Originally we were seeking to provide a new measure for tracking recovery,” said Dr Skelton. “It turns out that skill doesn’t really return after brain injury. It’s a matter of finding what areas of the brain are damaged, which are still functioning, and how to compensate.”

The development has potential applications in diagnostics for pharmaceutical prescriptions and for brain injury patients.

Stuart Derbyshire, a psychologist at the University of Birmingham’s school of life and environmental sciences, urged caution on the clinical aspects of such research. “The more techniques you use and the more that we learn, the more we can do, so it’s great on that level. However, you see group effects in studies, but for diagnostics it will have to be at the individual level – you need to find how the group pattern translates into individual cases,” he told The Irish Times. 

Dr Skelton pulled back from suggesting video games had an explicit neurological pedagogic function. “We learn by activating our brain,” he said. “The process of recovery or staving off ageing is the process of using our brains. I do think video games are good for keeping your brain active, but everything in moderation: going out to the pub is an important part of your social life, but you’re not going to spend all your time there.”

Media Release

* 30 July, 2009: New Tool Developed at the University of Victoria Helps Study Brain Activity

Identifying relationships among the activities of multiple areas of the brain has the potential to reveal valuable insights into human behaviour and thought processes.  A new software tool for analyzing electroencephalographic (EEG) data has been developed by researchers at the Universityof Victoria, in conjunction with the Universityof Lethbridge.  It provides neuroscientists with the ability to study how multiple areas of the brain work together to process information.  The tool enables researchers to measure brain activity using equipment that is far less expensive than that normally used for analyzing brain activity.  Currently, the most common tool for analyzing on-going brain activity is functional magnetic resonant imaging (fMRI), which requires millions of dollars to acquire and maintain in a large dedicated facility. In contrast, state-of-the-art EEG equipment costs about 1/10 as much to acquire, requires little maintenance and can be used in an ordinary laboratory or office.

The EEG analysis tool was developed primarily by Philip Michael Zeman, an interdisciplinary scientist at the University of Victoria.  It allows researchers to identify areas of the brain that are active while people are engaged in a variety of mental activities in a lab. Currently, Philip and his associates at the University of Victoria are investigating the brain activity required to navigate a virtual 3D space, such as one would encounter when playing a 1st-person perspective video game.  Their project employs a virtual maze, designed by Dr. Ron Skelton and Sharon Livingstone (Department of Psychology), to study the cognitive processes of spatial navigation and deficits after traumatic brain injury.  The investigation combines eye-position information obtained using the Universityof Victoria’s CanAssist eye-tracking system with Philip’s EEG analysis tool to study what cognitive strategies and what parts of the brain people use while finding their way and learning the layout of a virtual environment.

The EEG analysis tool is called “Multiple Origin Spatio-Temporal modeling of EEG” (MOST-EEG). It uses the electrical activity obtained from a person’s scalp, recorded while they play a video game, to construct a meaningful representation of the brain activity that took place while the person learned and used the layout of the virtual environment.  Through an automated process of data mining, validation, and source volume estimation the MOST-EEG analysis tool provides a 3D representation of brain activity during different mental states.  Using this new method we hope to better understand the activities of the brain and the cognitive strategies related to successful and unsuccessful completion of the video game.  The tool is also currently being evaluated as a means to identify problems of brain function within individuals and to understand how individuals with brain injury compensate for their injury.  This research represents the next step in the development of a new medical diagnostic procedure.

This new research tool should have broad appeal to researchers and has several potential medical applications.  “Philip developed a new procedure for analyzing EEG data that identifies the location of specific brain activities, like an fMRI, with reasonable accuracy at a small fraction of the cost,” says Ron Skelton.  “I think it will have immediate usefulness in understanding where the damage is most severe in individual cases of traumatic brain injury.  I also think that the procedure will be useful to other brain researchers, and has the potential to be used in medicine to identify areas of the brain that aren’t working properly or aren’t talking to other areas as they should. In addition, it has the potential to track the brain changes underlying the kind of neuroplasticity people are now talking about as being crucial for recovery from stroke and brain injury.”

The research papers that describe the tool and methodology are currently in the review process in several, peer-reviewed journals.  Over the duration of his research at the University of Victoria , Philip has had multiple collaborators including Sunny Mahajan, Dr. Ron Skelton, Sharon Livingstone, Patricia Sorensen, Dr. Peter Driessen, and Dr. Dorothy Paul, and Dr. Gary Birch .

Funding for this research has come from multiple parties, including Dr. Nigel Livingston, Director of CanAssist , and from National Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the University of Victoria.