BCS is a registered charity: No 292786
Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2012)
London, UK, 10 - 12 July 2012
Danny Birchall & Martha Henson
This paper takes Wellcome Collection’s casual Flash game Axon as the starting point for an investigation of the representation of the human brain in scientific and popular visual culture. It looks at the re-emergence of the neuron as a dominant image of the brain, against a historical background of brain-mapping technologies, from phrenology to fMRI. It then considers the representation of the brain in videogames in particular, in both entertainment and educational contexts. The role of rules in both games and brain development is explored, as is the idea that videogame interaction may be related to humans’ unique spatial understanding of the world. The paper concludes that while Axon suggests some of the possibilities of videogames in communicating neuroscience, games offer a larger potential for helping us to understand the brain than has currently been exploited.