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Contact

Office Location

440 Huntington Avenue
466 West Village H
Boston, MA 02115

Biography

Elin Carstensdottir is a PhD student studying game user research and interactive narrative at Northeastern University’s College of Computer and Information Science, advised by Professor Magy Seif El-Nasr. Elin’s research focuses on game user research and user experience design, specifically for interactive narrative systems and game interfaces. Her research has included work on virtual conversation agents, and human behavior simulations among other topics. She is in the Playable Innovative Technologies Laboratory and has worked on several game user research related projects in addition to conversation agent research. She is interested in examining the various ways specific design elements of interactive narrative interfaces and mechanics in video games impact the player experience. Elin earned her bachelor’s degree in computer science from Reykjavik University in Iceland.

Education

  • BSc in Computer Science, Reykjavik University – Iceland

About Me

  • Hometown: Akranes, Iceland
  • Field of Study: Game User Research, Interactive Narrative
  • PhD Advisor: Magy Seif El-Nasr

What are the specifics of your graduate education (thus far)?

Thus far I have worked on a variety of different projects, such as building a non-verbal behavior model for a virtual conversation agent which combined a personality trait theory and theatre methods.

Another project focused on evaluating user experience in games meant to crowdsource solutions for software verification. Currently, I am working on user experience and game design for an interactive narrative social skill training platform, as well as using crowdsourcing methods to create content for that platform.

What are your research interests?

My focus is on game user oriented research questions for interactive narrative, in particular, those that pertain to how users interact with interactive narrative artifacts, and how this interaction impacts their cognitive state and understanding of the narrative content.

I started on this path when I was introduced to social behavior modeling while pursuing my undergraduate degree. Around that time, I started playing video games more frequently and my interests in modeling human behavior started to hone in on specific problems within games, which then led me to user experiences in interactive narrative.

What’s one problem you’d like to solve with your research/work?

I would like to figure out how games can be used more effectively as research environments in empirical research, both so that interactive artifacts can be designed in a more targeted manner, and experimental models can take better advantage of this aspect of games.

What aspect of what you do is most interesting?

Games research is ironically not as specialized as it may appear at first, there are many interesting and complex problems that arise due to the medium’s interactive nature. Games can also be used as a method of scientific exploration, for example for psychology and sociology experiments.

What fascinates me in particular is how the design of interaction within games influences experience and how this can lead to specific behaviors and cognitive states.

What are your research or career goals, going forward?

I want to continue exploring design considerations for human-computer interaction through video games.