Nintendo Wiimote and Experimental Psychology:
Blending Cognition and Action

 

Home | Summary of the experiments | Official press release | Download the paper | Details on using the Wiimote

The Wiimote is a wonderful device that can be easily integrated into a computer equipped with Bluetooth. This permits the Wiimote to control the computer's cursor. Any psychological experiments conducted using a computer mouse can be run with the Wiimote, and with the added use of an LCD projector, a relatively immersive and enjoyable environment can be created for experimental participants.

Our motivation for adapting the Wiimote to psychological experiments was to explore how the dynamic characteristics of the body reflect thought processes. In a number of previous articles, collaborators and I have shown that many thought processes, such as categorization and decision making, can have dynamic action "signatures" in arm movements. Here are previous releases on these topics:

Why Negative Campaigns Sometimes Win
Unanimous Union: The mind and body together lean toward ‘truthiness’

We always used a standard computer mouse to conduct these studies. The Nintendo Wiimote offered a very affordable alternative. It reveals richer dynamics (since a table stabilizer is not present -- the hand "floats freely"), and participants generally report that experimental tasks are more engaging when using this interface.

To adapt the Wiimote for experimental use is very easy. First, one needs a Wiimote ($40). Second, an infrared emitter that serves as a frame of reference for it can be purchased for about $20 at many department stores. Finally, a computer is required, along with some software to get the Wiimote talking to the computer. The software package used for the current article is DarwiinRemote, but there are others. A modified version of DarwiinRemote is required to store the Wiimote's data (programmed by our laboratory). We are working to post this modification for download.

Pictures of the setup:

Further links of interest:

Nintendo Wii
Johnny Chung Lee's amazing Wii projects

(If you have a Wii or Wiimote project and would like it listed, feel free to email me.)