Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year 2012 !

Almost the end of the year ... and the beginning of next one ! One year that this blog is active, and so far, I think it is a good experience, even if I was publishing less and less materials, especially since I began to use Twitter. Anyway, this past year has been very fruitful, a lot of good things came out, a lot of ideas, some new amazing collaborations, a lot of promises for the future ... and this coming years is beginning with excellent signs:  new lab members, several papers and book chapters in press, several paper in writing process, a lot of new ideas to test ...

In the coming months, I will be writing few posts here on the general design thematic. It seems I am having a growing interest in that topic, after the last year conference on Design Principles and Practices in Rome (related paper [PDF]), and after my visit at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach. But this interest was coming from earlier on, definitively. So, some posts in the coming future will be on video games design, and particularly on how our work can be useful for that ([PDF][PDF][PDF][PDF][PDF]); and some will be on clinical design, including, but not limited to, drug design ([PDF]) and general clinical strategies with special emphasis on tele-medicine.

But for now, let's enjoy the last days of the year,
I wish you all a Happy New Year 2012 !

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Research Update

Several of our works on virtual spaces are going on their way. The paper on distribution of avatars in space is now available online (In Press, still, but should be in the next issue of Computers in Human Behavior), and I got today the proofs of the paper on the impact of meta-media on virtual communities. Looking very good ! Using as a model the Star Wars Role-Play community of Second Life, this paper analysed the impact of "Galactic News Network", a news-styled blog relating the events taking place in the SWRP community of Second Life in a "in character" immersive way, on the community itself, using as a theoretical framework the 3C model I presented in previous work. Interestingly, the typological analysis of what I described in this paper really reinforce the model I think. Big thanks for Daana Kira and Rakiko Lowtide, the two main "Reporters" of GNN, without whom I would not have been able to do this work.

On the other side of our research ... we are launching a series of new projects on bionics. And that makes me happy, as (as I kept telling to people), we are finally linking the two parts of human-machine interactions : the behavioral aspects with virtual spaces, and the fundamental biomedical aspects, with bionic applications, which could only arise from animal research. It will take time, but we are going there finally !

Friday, October 21, 2011

Lab Update

A long long time without a new blog post ... So a lot to say ! The grant period is finally over, so we can be back to normal working schedules, and finally do research again. Here are some of the main updates since the last blog post back in beginning of September.

First, the meeting in Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University was simply amazing. Extremely productive, we reinforced our collaboration with Lynn Koller there, and I met some new possible collaborators. The visit was very exciting and stimulating.

Second, papers ! We got a lot of excellent news since the last update ! The PLoS one paper on the perception of humanness of an interlocutor is now fully published (references are given at the end of this post). The Reviewers agreed that our approach was trully innovative (would I dare the "revolutionarian" ?). Anyway, so far, only excellent feedback about this work ! The paper of Anna about the distribution of avatars in (virtual) space using Second Life as a model got also accepted, and we already corrected the proofs, so we expect it online in the very coming days. The corrections asked by the Reviewers were the most minimalistic I ever saw, which says a lot about the quality of this particular paper and about its possible impact. Finally, I submitted a paper on a meta-media (the Galactic News Network of the Second Life Star Wars Role-Play community), and, this paper elicited a very good feedback from both Editor and Reviewers (even if I had to do some corrections, but well, that is the fate of any paper somehow), and it is now Accepted ! Meaning that now we actually have 3 papers about Second Life and 2 about World of Warcraft ... We are really exploiting those models fully I think (even if we are now working to gather information from other models too).

Lortie CL, Guitton MJ (2011) Judgment of the Humanness of an Interlocutor is in the Eye of the Beholder. PLoS ONE, 6:e25085.

I am using Twitter really a lot now, so most of the litterature updates are done there ... But I may be doing an over-view of some recent litterature update here soon too, to make sure you don't miss some interesting things to read (winter is coming in Canada, we need things to read for the cold evenings).

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lab Update

Well, as I was telling you in the last post, I am in the "grant writing period" ... So blogging is slow ... Still, some important updates:

1) Anna Lomanovska, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in my lab, got the very prestigious and competitive FRSQ Postdoctoral Fellowship grant ! Now she is funded for 2 more years, so we will be able to do really good things I am sure ! Well done, Anna, congratulations !

2) Talking about grants, Catherine also got the FRSQ Student grant for her Master Degree in my lab, but unfortunately, she had to say no since she already got the NSERC Alexander Graham Bell grant ... Still, that means that we are probably not the worse lab in the world if everybody gets grants here ! (or that I am lucky to attract only the best people, which I do believe too).

3) Twitter, twitter, twitter, I so love twitter ... Definitively, Twitter has really an ideal format for me, short and efficient messages, perfect for litterature updates and so on. So, people, if you want to follow what we are doing, follow me on Twitter @matthieuguitton

4) I will be in Florida in 1 week now, at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Beside giving a lecture on cyberbehavior (Multi-Modal Aspects of Immersion in Virtual Spaces), I will be participing to two courses there: "Visual Design" and "Technology and Modern Civilization". That will be most interesting I think.

5) Papers ... things are advancing, the PLoS ONE of Catherine is in press, as is the chapter on "Cyber Behaviors in Canada" of the "Encyclopedia of Cyberbehavior", and we have currently 4 other papers submitted (even if, of course, some will be longer to publish than others).

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lab Update

Long time without a post ... that is mostly due to the "grant writing period": two time per year, you go out of the world to live in your micro-world, to write research grants so your lab can work. Anyway, some updates.

First, I changed my main affiliation. I moved from the Faculty of Pharmacy to now be Professeur sous octroi at the Faculty of Medicine. I am now in the Department of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology and Ophtalmology. A sensory department, with a fully multi-modal and integrated focus, seems to be a perfect match for me and my research interests, so there are a lot of new opportunities there for me.

Second, the visit of Lee Cadieux from the University of Ulster went perfectly well. It was an amazing time for me and the students to talk about cyberbehavior with another expert of the field. By the way, here is one of his latest paper, just published:

Cadieux L (2011) Open Sandbox: New Modalities of Animation Delivery. Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal. 5:635-644.

A "must-read" paper, for those interested by this kind of topic. This paper was actually published after a very interesting talk Lee gave in Roma in February at the Design Conference.

Third, about Twitter ... Well, actually, I find that Twitter is a very convenient tool, and since I finally decided to create an account, I simply can not live without it anymore ... It is an amazing tool to spread litterature udpates or comments, so, if you are following this blog, I can only suggest you to follow my twitter account too:!/matthieuguitton

And, that's all for today, back to my grants !

Friday, July 22, 2011

Research Update

Today, our paper on the factors supporting the judgment of humanness a human will do over his partner in a situation of computer-mediated communication got accepted with revision. And the comments of the Reviewers were honestly very good (not to say elogious for one of them at least!). And that is pretty good for us, because we got accepted with revision in PLoS ONE ! Meaning, we are climbing pretty well in terms of Impact Factor ! Actually, to be honest, it will be once the revision will be made, one of the papers on CMC published in the highest journal ! As well, the fact that we are now able to publish in journals with this Impact Factor means that the field is getting mature, and that people in general science become more and more ready to hear about what people working on cyberbehavior have to say. This paper is part of Catherine's Master degree, which is getting better and better each month it seems ... More to come soon, keep tuned !

Friday, July 15, 2011

Literature Update

A paper published in Science Express about the effect of having constant access to information technology such as Internet or Google on the cognitive strategy we used to retrieve information stored in our memory. The paper itself is there:

And there is also a comment on it in Science:

On another topic, the TV interview went ok (they called me in the morning for an interview at 13h ... always great when you have "plenty" of time to get ready, somehow ...).

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Even if new classifications have been proposed in the last 2 decades, the old classification of "players" of Bartle is still relevant. Bartle divided the players of video-game and virtual spaces in 4 categories, alongside two axes: an action/interaction axe (for those interested into the history of tools of personality evaluation, or on the history of things such as ther MMPI scale, we are close to the concepts of Tellegen of narrow vs. extended, of internal vs. external focus), and a others/world axe (akin to a human/environment axe). The four categories were: "achievers" (action/others), "socializers" (interaction/others), "explorers" (interaction/world), and "builders" (action/world). Latter on, he added a third axe to go with 8 categories (including the Second Life highly popular "griefers", or the World of Warcraft as popular "killers"). However, the 8 categories classification somehow works less than the original 4 categories, which I think is still the best so far ...

Something else, my colleague Lynn Köller from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Florida, lucky people !) pointed to me today a very interesting paper which document how actual people "perceive" the usefulness of e-media support, in this case how patients perceived the usefulness of online electronic medical records.

Winkelman WJ, Leornard KJ, Rossos PG (2005) Patient-perceived usefulness of online electronic medical records: employing grounded theory in the development of information and communication technologies for use by patients living with chronic illness. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 12:306-314.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lab Update

Finally, I have a Twitter ! So, if you are interested, you can tweet with me at @matthieuguitton on Twitter ... And "follow" me there to follow me here, so you can get updated when we have new things to say here !

Friday, July 8, 2011


On Facebook ... and on Facebook Credits. Facebook Credits were around since some times already, and were used as a possible choice to pay various "side services" of Facebook, typically some games. However, since July 1st, they are the only and mandatory currency for any application using the Facebook plateform. With the ambition to have them used to buy songs, or movies online, Facebook clearly want to push the Facebook Credits as the main virtual currency. And with taking 30% on each transaction, Facebook would generate a lot more money. Yes. And no.
Let's remember what happened with the Linden Dollars of the famous Linden Labs star application, Second Life. When people began to actually win so much money inside the world of Second Life and to convert it in real money, when people exchanged currency via Second Life, some governments began to be clearly annoyed. Leading up to the taxation of Linden Dollars inside the European Union. So, what if Facebook Credits become so popular that they actually get to have the different government looking at all that a bit more closely ? And add, let's say, a 10% taxe over the already 30% of taxe of Facebook ? Somehow, using this virtual money to get virtual services would cost more than using a real money to get real services ... And during all this time, all the other players of the cyberspace will be playing soccer in the courtyard and not try to develop another (virtual) currency to compete ? Like the Google Credits ? All that will be interesting to observe in the future, and to observe how it will affect us all ...

Thursday, July 7, 2011


The latest Impact Factor of Computers in Human Behavior is at 1.86, and that is not bad at all for a hyper-specialized journal. Just for comparison, JASA (the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America - the best journal in the field of acoustic research) is at 1.52 ... if we compare with a "specialised" journal with a broader, more biomedical-oriented readership, we get Hearing Research with 2.4 ...

Ideally, if the field gets mature enough, we should expect Computers in Human Behavior to grow slightly above 2 (a nice 2.5 would be amazing). If it grows more, the problem would be that the pressure to publish would increase probably in such way that new journals would emerge, dropping the Impact Factor down again ... So, an acceptable stable level would be around 2 something probably. Of course, since we publish a lot there, the more the better. Well, anyway, each time people quote our papers, that increase mechanically the Impact Factor.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Following the recent lab discussions, here are a brunch of links (thank you Anna J ). So, first links, some video of the Star Trek holodecks. Connected with the talk we had two days ago.

Holodeck 1
Holodeck 2

Then, another interesting video:

Japan Virtual Pop Star

And finally, as Anna stated: "now we can get addicted for free!":

WoW for free

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Again an interesting contribution from eMarketer. About how brands begin to enter into the virtual settings of the multiplayer social online games. Well, somehow that was a logical evolution, as the virtual spaces represented by these game settings are getting closer and closer to "real" space by their social contents. Such things already were present some years ago in the Second Life virtual setting, with limited impact however. I am curious about the tendencies which will take place in the future on that ...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Literature Update

A very interesting paper to read. For those of the group, we had some talks about that few days ago ...

Metcalf O, Pammer K (In Press) Attentional bias in excessive massively multiplayer online role-playing gamers using modified Stroop task. Computers in Human Behavior, Available online 24 May 2011.

And two papers more on the "philosophical" aspects of cyberbehavior. We should not neglect philosophy when dealing with cyberbehavior, as we need, like for any other science, a humanistic approach to frame our research. And as François Rabelais said (one of the leading French humanists of the Renaissance, and, incidently, we studied in the same school: the Faculty of Medecine of the University of Montpellier in France J ... I know, but I had to write it ! J ): "Science sans conscience n’est que ruine de l’âme."

Thomas C, Sheth A (2011) Web Wisdom: An essay on how Web 2.0 and Semantic Web can foster a global knowledge society. Computers in Human Behavior, 27:1285-1293.
Zhou L, Ding L, Finin T (2011) How is the Semantic Web evolving? A dynamic social network perspective. Computers in Human Behavior, 27:1394-1302.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Some times ago I wrote a small comment on the issue of Cyberpiracy. Today is another interesting issue which seems to concern more and more the governements of most countries: Cyberwar. Just a couple of articles form major US media, about the new American policies, regulation, and strategies regarding the ways to react to situations of cyberwars.

Cyber Combat: Act of War (from the Wall Street Journal)

And for those of us who read French:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lab Update

We got another Book Chapter published. This chapter, entitled "When Taste Triggers Sociophobia", deals with the animal models of eating disorders and is getting published in the soon-to-be essential “Handbook of Behavior, Food and Nutrition".
Ok, it may sound a bit far from cyberbehavior ... but actually not, as it is the first of a series of two Book Chapters (I know they will be published in two different books, but still, they are complementary to each other), the second one (which I co-authored with my postdoc Anna) being dealing more with the multimodal aspects of food disorders. And this second chapter bridges in the same text animal studies and human reactions to virtual reality therapies in the context of eating disorders (yay, we did it! I know, said like that it sounds a bit artificial, but I guess you will have to read the two Book Chapters to see how we connected things together). So, one is now published, the second one is in the publisher and on its way (multi-authored books always take ages to get publish, it seems).

Guitton MJ (2011) When Taste Triggers Sociophobia. Preedy VR, Watson RR, Martin CR (Eds), Handbook of Behavior, Food and Nutrition. Springer, pp 1217-1230.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Literature Update

A very good paper (but that is always the case when it comes from Yadin Dudai's lab J ). Since some years, Yadin Dudai is working on this notion of "real-life" memory, with the final goal of dealing with more ethological aspects of human cognition. That translates, in terms of experimental settings, by the development of more ecological designs, compared to the classical "hit the black dot" computer tasks. Anyway, this paper deals with some of the biological substratum of the process of encoding episodic memory. Cute-edge imagery and excellent memory-oriented experimental paradigm characterises this paper.

Ben-Yakov A, Dudai Y (2001) Constructing realistic engrams: poststimulus activity of hippocampus and dorsal striatum predicts subsequent episodic memory. Journal of Neuroscience, 31:9032-9042.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


About children exposure to digital media. A very interesting update from eMarketer, about the increase of young chilren exposure to digital media. As I mentionned in the entrance on "Cyber Behavior in Canada" in the soon-to-be published "Encyclopedia of Cyber Behavior", Canada is doing amazingly well in term of Internet use, being one of the countries with the best coverage. Double-edged sword it seems, as Canadian children (obviously, unfortunately) are also among the ones who seems to be the most exposed to digital media ...

Friday, June 10, 2011


Piracy on Internet is an important issue. And several countries want to get laws on that topic. However, one of the key problem is that restraining Internet use may well go again the freedom that we all want, and that virtual spaces so strongly emphasised. Control and freedom do not always go well together, but things can not iether go simply wild ... This complex debate has already made its way in some countries, but now it seems that USA are getting there too. Well, unfortunately they seem to want to do things with a really "harsh" way, the proposed "Project Ip Act".

The New York Times made a very interesting editorial on that ...

For those reading French, Le Figaro as well had an interesting article :

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Literature Update

Can our profile predict our interests ? Obviously yes ... But can we extract these interests in a systematic way based on semantic-only short information ? If yes, the applications are really important, but it would questions also our degree of autonomy (or, how Kant's philosophy joins the new technology).

Cantador I, Castells P (2011) Extracting multilayered Communities of Interest from semantic user profiles: Application to group modeling and hybrid recommendantions. Computers in Human Behavior, 27:1321-1336.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lab Update: CAN Meeting

All the lab is presently at the Fifth Canadian Neuroscience Meeting (the meeting of CAN - Canadian Association for Neuroscience). We had a pretty good representation with 5 posters: 3 related to cyberbehavior, and 2 related to animal models. It went pretty well, well done to all the lab presenters, you did very well!


Lortie CL, Guitton MJ. The judgement of humanity of an interlocutor is in the Eye of the Beholder. M-G-006.
Lortie CL, Guitton MJ. Social organuzation in virtual settings depends of the proximity to human visual aspect. M-G-007.
Lomanowska AM, Guitton MJ. Social density and physical aggregation of avatars in virtual spaces. T-G-001.

Animal Models:

Marquilly C, Guitton MJ. Salicylate-induced tinnitus triggers serotonergic-dependant anxiety. M-D-001.
Bories C, Husson, Z, Guitton MJ, De Koninck Y. Frontal substrates of cognitive performance heterogeneity during aging. T-C-034 (not shown in picture).

Saturday, May 28, 2011


We are still working with the virtual environment of Second Life as a model of human behavior in virtual spaces. Here is the avatar of one of the members of our group, Anna. We are submitting the first experimental paper on cyberbehavior of her postdoc in the coming weeks! (go us!) ... Well, in my (always biased) opinion, it is a very interesting work, dealing with some cool mathematical model of human-controlled avatar behavior. More to come soon.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Parallel to the G8 meeting in Paris, another meeting is held: the e-G8 Forum. About 1000 influential people of the internet-world are gathered together to discuss issues related to the new media, mostly (if not solely) from an economical point of view, however. Among the guests: Eric Smith (Executive Director of Google), Jimmy Wales (co-founder of Wikipedia), Jeff Bezos (founder and Executive Director of, John Donahoe (Executive Director of eBay), Mark Zuckerberg (co-founder and Executive Director of Facebook), Sean Parker (co-founder of Facebook and of Napster, associate of the Founders Fund), and Niklas Zennström (co-founder of Skype and Executive Director of the fund Atomico). And some major players of economy, such as Rupert Murdoch (Executive Director of News Corporation), and Christine Lagarde (French Minister of Economy, and putative next Director of the IMF).
Debates seems to be oriented on business models, future trends, and management of legal issues in multinational spaces.

On a more light touch, we can hardly be scientists focusing on virtual worlds without being aware of the so-called Geek culture, so here are some funny things. A representative panel of Geeks voted for the best quotes of the whole (Geek) history. Here is the top five for your viewing pleasure:
"May the force be with you" (Star Wars)
"Luke, I am your father" (Star Wars)
"You shall not pass!" (Lord of the Rings)
"I will be back" (Terminator)
"My Precious" (Lord of the Rings)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Two small articles from eMarketer dealing with the impact of women-written blogs in product or brand image and popularity. A bit formalizing the phenomenon of word-of-mouth in online settings, blogs being finally simply a new media for social, inter-individual influence. Interestingly (and that echoes the remark in the comment of the post of May 5), the notion of “opinion leaders” is very important to decipher the efficiency of a blog in term of convincing others …
The first article describes the characteristics of some of the main type of female users and shows that only a small proportion of them are actually active and efficient (in this context, the “opinion leaders”).

The second article describes some of the strategies which can be used to help convince a female blogger to contribute actively to the word-of-mouth of a given product.

Do Woman Bloggers Want to Work with your Brand?

All that is very interesting to read, digest, and consider in the context of deciphering how social media can represent a tool of influence over others (individuals or groups).

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cyberworld: the Second Life City of Rarn

Long time since we showed in this blog some virtual world things ... So, here are some views of the Second Life City of Rarn. Rarn, the City of Copper, is a City of Gor, located close to the City of Tharna (see the previous "Cyberworld" entries). A very well designed City, which succeed to reflect both the mountain location and a unique atmosphear. The design of the City is highly efficient in terms of opportunities to trigger easily interesting immersive role-play situations.

After going out of the "out of character" arrival point, you directly land in a mountain road, the "road to Rarn", where you can appreciate the mountain landscape.

After a short walk, the massive walls of the City attract your eyes.

The design of the City is at the same time simple and complex. Simple, as the general City map is clear, and the City is surrounded by high walls, with a strongly protected gate, allowing the citizens and local warriors to defend the City in a optimal way. Complex, as the inner map and building organisation is, despite being easy to navigate in, far to be simplistic, leading to a real pleasure in terms of immersion for the visitor.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Literature Update

Education (at a very broad sense) is a key target of the utilisation of new media. Numerous universities are offering very high numbers of online course, programs, and so on (by the way, Canada in general, and Quebec Province in particular, are doing pretty well on that, as mentionned in the chapter on "Cyber Behaviors in Canada" which I wrote for the "Encyclopedia of Cyber Behavior", currently in press). However, a major issue related to that (and it raised some interesting debates, or at least elicited some interesting presentation at the Design Conference in Rome last February), is the problematic of the evaluation of the efficiency. In regards to this problematic, the following paper (even if a case study, with all the limitations it can hold), is interesting:

Lee H, Kim JW, Hackney R (2011) Knowledge hoarding and user acceptance of online discussion board systems in eLearning: A case study. Computers in Human Behavior, 27:1431-1437.

Something else, just something to think about as a possible way to foresee evolutions in the field. Not necessary have to agree, but interesting to read anyway:

Drigas A, Koukianakis L, Papagerasimou Y (2011) Towards an ICT-based psychology: E-psychology. Computers in Human Behavior, 27:1416-1423.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Comment: Question to the Readers

I need your opinion. As people are obviously very shy, I re-ask the question of few weeks (and unfortunately not enough posts) ago. What would be needed in a graduate course on Cyberpsychology? Which concepts should be introduced, which fields should be covered, which would be the main papers ... what format such a course should take?
Dear reader, time to help me! You can send a comment to this post, you can send me an email, you can come to my office to tell me what you think ... Any comment is appreciated, as this field is utterly dynamic!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Literature Update

As observed by several of our group members, it seems that our ideas are getting more and more credits ... Indeed, we being to see papers (both in general press and in scientific journals) dealing with the same hypothesis than the one we are working on. Meaning that probably we are not too much in a bad direction. Anyway, not related to that, an interesting paper regarding sexual dimorphism of perception of movements. This paper explores the role of visual cues and gender stereotypes in perceptions of biological motion displays.

Johnson KL, McKay LS, Pollick FE (2011) He throws like a girl (but only when he's sad): Emotion affects sex-decoding of biolgical motion displays. Cognition, 119:265-280.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Well, sorry dear readers, I know that I have not been updating this blog recently ... teaching period unfortunately J. Anyway, talking about teaching, I would like, dear reader, your opinion: which elements do you think shall be absolutely include in a University course of Cyberpsychology? You can give me your insight by leaving comments on this blog, or send me an email directly (see my email address in the contact information). All comments are welcome and appreciated ! J

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lab Update: Prevention of Pathologies of the Auditory System

Just a selection of some of our papers which could be linked to the broad thematic of prevention. We are working among other subjects on some pathologies for which no treatment is available ... thus, a lot of what we did can actually be translated into "prevention" : factors of risks, main causes, mechanisms of vulnerability ... As we mentionned in this blog earlier with the paper of Colleen LePrell, the situation changed a lot in the last decades. Now, the "standard" ear of a young adult is already damaged. Auditory prevention? First, put your headphone at a lower volume. Second, put your tv and radio at a lower volume. Third, put your headphone at a lower volume (yes, same than one, but it is really important). We are all vulnerable to noise. However, the degree of variability is not the same for all of us. Factors underlying individual vulnerability can also been identified using animal models ...

Guitton MJ, Klin Y, Dudai Y (2008) Taste-dependant sociophobia: When food and company do not mix. Behavioural Brain Research, 191:148-152.
Guitton MJ (2006) Tinnitus and anxiety: more than meet the ears. Current Psychiatry Reviews, 2:333-338.
Chabert R, Guitton MJ, Amram D, Uziel A, Lallemant JG, Puel JL (2006) Early maturation of evoked otoacoustic emissions and medial olivocochlear reflex in preterm neonates. Pediatric Research, 59:305-308.
Guitton MJ, Wang J, Puel JL (2004) New pharmacological strategies to restore hearing and to treat tinnitus. Acta Otolaryngol (Stockholm), 124:411-415.
Wang J, Lloyd Faulconbridge RV, Fetoni A, Guitton MJ, Pujol R, Puel JL (2003) Local application of sodium thiosulphate prevents cisplatin-induced hearing loss in the guinea pig. Neuropharmacology, 45:380-393.
Nicolas-Puel C, Lloyd Faulconbridge R, Guitton M, Puel JL, Mondain M, Uziel A (2002) Characteristics of tinnitus and etiology of associated hearing loss : a study of 123 patients. International Tinnitus Journal, 8:37-44.
Delprat B, Boulanger A, Wang J, Beaudoin V, Guitton MJ, Venteo S, Deschesne CJ, Pujol R, Lavigne-Rebillard M, Puel JL, Hamel CP (2002) Down regulation of otospiralin, a novel inner ear protein, causes hair cell degeneration and deafness. Journal of Neuroscience, 22:1718-1725.
Puel JL, Ruel J, Guitton M, Wang J, Pujol R (2002) The inner hair cell synaptic complex: Physiology, pharmacology and new therapeutic strategies. Audiology Neurootology, 7:49-54.
Kossowski M, Mom T, Guitton M, Poncet JL, Bonfils P, Avan P (2001) Fine alterations of distortions-product otoacoustic emissions after moderate acoustic overexposure in guinea pig’s. Audiology, 40:113-122.
Avan P, Wit HP, Guitton M, Mom T, Bonfils P (2000) On the spectral periodocity of transient-evoked otoacoustic emissions from normal and damaged cochleas. Journal of Acoustical Society of America, 108:1117-1127.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lab Update: We rock!

Two excellent news today !

1) Catherine got one of the most prestigious student grants of Canada, the Alexandre Graham Bell fellowship, awarded jointly by the three Research Council of Canada, for projects of excellence with technology innovation, for "top ranked students". No need to say, it is one of the most prestigious student grants of Canada.

2) We got today with a group of collaborators a grant from the SSHR (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada), for developping new tool to investigate social cognition in humans. Meaning that now, we are one of the only lab in Laval University to be funded by the three Research Councils of Canada (the CIHR - Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the NSERC - Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and now the SSHR - Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada). Oh, and as well, we are the first lab of the Faculty of Pharmacy to get the three Councils since the foundation of the Faculty.

In other words, we rock.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lab Update

Well, I know that our research interests may time to time seem a bit hard to size ... so here is another way to explain them (at least for the research interests in cyberbehavior) :
We are interested by the expression of behavior in virtual spaces, and particularly by the multimodal - sensory, perceptive, and cognitive - integration which occurs in such environments, and by the dynamics of social structuring in virtual worlds. Our work focuses on the cognitive mechanisms of immersive behavior, at the individual level (multimodal aspects of behavior in virtual spaces), at the group level (organization of social behavior in virtual spaces), and at the environmental level (interaction between virtual world design and behavior, human-machine interactions).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lab Update

The website of one of our collaborators. François Giard is Professor at the Faculty of Architecture and Visual Arts of Laval University, and the director of the Program of Animation Science. François is an expert in the technological aspects of image synthesis, 3D animation, and a master in the amazingly fascinating tools we are using more and more in the lab. We are having several projects going on. Most of them are based on some level of tool development, so the latency of data production is a bit delayed ... Still, there is one of them which I think we lead to another paper by the end of the summer, so keep reading this blog J. Something else, but connected as well as it is in the broad thematic of tool development, we just submitted a paper on social cognition. A very interesting (in my point of view) work: we gathered 4 PI (including me) with different, yet complementary expertises, to approach this problematic with an innovative and integrated point of view. Now, just need to hope that we will convince the Reviewers easily!

Giard F, Guitton MJ (2010) Beauty or realism: The dimensions of skin from cognitive sciences to computer graphics. Computers in Human Behavior, 26:1748-1752.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Comment: Is there a life outside of the lab?

To answer a lingering question, which several people asked repeatedly: do we have a real life as well? or are we, scientists, only living in virtual worlds? Well, part of the answer is in the following pics, from the competition of February 27, 2011 ("Coupe Michel Boudrault") at the Dojo of Beauport (one of the biggest Judo training centers of Canada). Since Sensei Olivier Bordry is presently in China, I have to give the courses of Iaido (only 2 more weeks! yay!), and had to do the demonstration of Iaido too with our students to entertain the kids (shown with me is Robin, one of our best students here in Iaido) ... But, no, I never come to the lab with the hakama nor the iaito (sorry to disapoint you, I know ...).

Friday, March 18, 2011


Just something interesting pointed out by Christine. On the multiple uses that can be done of social media, and of the wish governements may have to use them at their full potential. Specifically, a general press article about some of the operations of army to impact the opinion via social media, using "artificial" identities ("virtual" virtual self?). And lucky you, it is both in English and in French !

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Since the paper on the trade role-play in the Second Life Gorean community is in its last stage before being published, here is a recent pic from one of the avatars who helped me the most for this particular work: Lady Shana. Lady Shana is Elder of the Caste of the Merchants and Head of the Caste of the Merchants of the City of Tharna.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Literature Update

Social Media are growing, and so their use. However, in this new kind of jungle, it may be hard to decipher which one to use, or which combination of media to use, and as well, how to use them the most efficiently. The following paper is a contribution done in that direction. This paper, written by a researcher well-known in the field of the social media and directed mostly toward the business community, provides practical advices to help the process of decision-making while using social media (such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, but as well Wikipedia or Second Life), in order to optimize the impact of these media. In addition, this paper suggests a classification of social media according to operative characteristics.

Kaplan AM, Haenlein M (2010) Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media. Business Horizons, 53:59-68.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lab Update

Summer is approaching (hard to believe with the snowstorms of the last days ... but well, let's say that summer is approaching)... and, with summer come the summer students! So, here to welcome our new summer students to be: Chen Chen from France will join us for the human part of our research, and Milomir Stefanovic who will come back to us from Serbia to continue the excellent work he was doing on the animal part of our research.
Other thing, I finally received the proof of the paper on the Gorean trade role-play. So this paper is in its final line and shall soon be available. Actually, this paper brings a lot of important input from an anthropological point of view of the "sense of virtual community".
Dear readers and followers of this blog, we are always looking for smart and interested new members willing to join, so never hesitate to contact me if you want to explore the virtual worlds with us!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Virtual reality has obvious applications. Among them, practical training in medical field is obvious and really important. Indeed, when you are learning, for instance, to do surgery, you don't have that many option ... at a moment or another you will have to practice yourself on a human patient. And somehow, we would all like to not be this patient. So, using virtual reality tools to practice is a reasonable idea.

Banerjee A, Bancil AS (2011) Virtual reality simulation: the future of medical training. Med Teach, 13:172.

Well, the idea is not new: since a decade already people have been trying to do so.

Lange T, Indelicato DJ, Rosen JM (2000) Virtual reality in surgical training. Surg Oncol Clin N Am, 9:61-79.
Mantovani F, Castelnuovo G, Gaggioli A, Riva G (2003) Virtual reality in training for health-care professionals. Cyberpsychol Behav, 6:389-395.

Just now, the technology is getting more and more mature.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Research Update

The final version of our paper on the interactions of avatars' visual aspect and social aggregation is now available and referenced (see earlier posts). The first published paper of a series on interactions between the avatars themselve and the structuring of virtual communities. Following very soon, the paper on the impact of trade role-play in the Second Life Gorean community (which has been accepted already a long time ago, but somehow the final publication seems to be longer than it should be ...). And following a bit later, something we just submitted on an extreme case of social aggregation of avatars with particular visual aspect.

Lortie CL, Guitton MJ (2011) Social organization in virtual settings depends on proximity to human visual aspect. Computers in Human Behavior, 27:1258-1261.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cyberworld: Shots from WoW

Just some views of the world of World of Warcraft ... For the viewing pleasure.
Well, we are on the way to submit this week another work using this cyberworld as a model. And no, the huge draenei in the pictures is not me J.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Literature Update

Well, we were warning people about it since several years, but finally somebody demonstrated it! (and this person, Colleen LePrell, is somebody I really appreciate: she was postdoc with Sandy Bledsoe back when I was visiting student at the Kresge Hearing Research Institute in the University of Michigan (Go Blue!!!!!) ... speaking about that, she is now Associate Professor in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences at the sunny University of Florida, while I am in cold Canada L ... some people are better than other to organize their career I assume ...). A very interesting (yet somehow scary) work, showing that the youngsters are really seriously damaging their ears in modern societies. Practically speaking, it also reinforces my point that sensory evaluation shall be performed systematically before we try to assess cognition using interactive tasks.

Le Prell CG, Hensley BN, Campbell KC, Hall JW 3rd, Guire K (2011) Evidence of hearing loss in a 'normally-hearing' college-student population. Int J Audiol, 50(S1):S21-31.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Literature Update

The title says it all ...

Oldham-Cooper RE, Hardman CA, Nicoll CE, Rogers PJ, Brunstrom JM (2011) Playing a computer game during lunch affects fullness, memory for lunch, and later snack intake. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 93:308-313.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Well, the blog has been a bit quiet since I am at a research meeting in Rome, Italy (yeah, the life of a scientist is difficult, I know) ... So, to show how much the amazing architecture here inspires us, dedicated but illiterate biologists, here are some thoughts on how to connect the past and the future.
Vitruvius (Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, 80-70 BC to after 15 BC) was a Roman military engineer and architect active in the first century preceding our era. He is mostly known for is tomes, referred to as De architectura (“About architecture”, known nowadays in English as “The Ten Books of Architecture”). In this multi-volume book, he described three major criterions that should be always kept in mind when building a structure. Those “Vitruvian criterions” are SOLIDITY (firmitas, firmness), USEFULNESS (utilitas), and BEAUTY (venustas, from the Goddess Venus, meaning more “able to create a delight”).
The concepts of Vitruvius inspired some of the greatest geniuses in all of human history. We all know, or will recognized on sight, the amazing drawing from 1487 by Léonard de Vinci (sorry guys, I am French, so for me Léonard de Vinci has to be known under his French name J ) named the Vitruvian Man, as it is accompanied by quotes from the De architectura.

The simple three basic criterions of the Virtuvian logic are actually very interesting. And somehow, we should always keep them in mind when we try to understand why some cyberworlds survive, while some don’t. Or just when we try to understand how designers are building the artefacts which allow us to interact with those new media (take an iPhone or an iPad, and you will see what I mean ...).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Literature Update

A very interesting (but really very interesting) paper … the consequences are really important if the results get confirmed in the future. The authors found that the volume of the amygdala correlates in humans with the size and complexity of social networks. (I need to check how they quantified social networks … but well, I can not access Nature from this computer J    ). One more role of the amygdala, which was already a central knob for a lot of emotional behavior, and now also become a key player in social behavior (thank you Anna for having pointed out this paper!).

Bickart KC, Wright CI, Dautoff RJ, Dickerson BC, Feldman Barret L (2011) Amygdala volume and social network size in humans. Nature Neurosci, 14:163-164.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


e-Tribe vs. Virtual Community: the concept of e-tribe emerged from early works done on virtual communities (especially the works of Kozinets back in 1997, 1999, and later on). This concept was extremely popular in the first half of the years 2000 (2000-2005 approximately), particularly in the field of marketing (and e-marketing). However, this concept carries the notion of relatively stable and reasonably small and homogeneous groups, as well as the notion of a strong (and somehow absolute) level of affiliation. But clearly, virtual groups can be really large, and usually the same person will belong to several such groups, which may or not overlap. So nowadays, the concept of virtual community is preferred (relating back to the very first concept, but with a different understanding of what a virtual community is).

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cyberworld: WoW, the Great Plagues ...

Virtual communities can also be exposed to fast-spreading diseases; to what can be called virtual plagues. And over the years two of such massive epidemics have touched the World of Warcraft cyberworld.

- The Corrupted Blood Plague
The “Corrupted Blood incident” (a nice euphemism for the most important and largest uncontrolled virtual plague which even happened in a virtual world) was one of the most significant events in the history of the virtual world of World of Warcraft ...
September 13, 2005 (well, of course, if you do something on a 13th, you can only expect to lose control of it somehow!), Blizzard introduced into the world of World of Warcraft a new raid area called Zul’Gurub. The final boss was named Hakkar and could affect the players by contaminating them with the “Corrupted Blood”, a virtual disease which would deal significant damages to the players. Even more fun, the disease was contagious, and would be pased to nearby characters.
And of course, not only a bug made this disease long-lasting, but as well, the effect which was supposed to be effective only in Zul’Gurub happened to not be removed when the players left the area using teleportation. So, it went out of control the exact same day, as the first players met Hakkar, and left the area. September 13, 2005, the disease spread around in the cyberworld of World of Warcraft and the “Corrupted Blood” epidemic began.
At this time, the population of World of Warcraft was over 2 millions inhabitants. The pandemic quickly spread all over ... but what is interesting here for us was that new behavior, not typical of World of Warcraft classical role-play/game-play emerged. Actually, those new behaviors mimicked what happens in a real-life pandemic: people acted as if this disease was a real threat to their health (well, it was a threat to the health of their character, somehow). Most people did what they could to avoid at all cost infection by running out of the big cities in which the infection was spreading around faster, or even by leaving the game itself, while some infected people tried to infect others ... Something really interesting also happened, some characters able to heal other characters (in the context of World of Warcraft, hearler characters are often Priests) spontaneously volunteered to take care and cure infected people. Ultimately, Blizzard fixed the problem.

- The Great Zombie Plague
In order to promote the “Wrath of the Lich King” expansion before its release, Blizzard voluntarily released a second disease in mid-October 2008. The “Zombie Plague” was really different from the “Corrupted Blood”. First, this plague was fully intentional. Second it always stayed under control, as Blizzard demonstrated it by fully erasing it October the 28, 2008, after one week of epidemic. Third, the way of propagation was different (the Zombie Plague was less contagious than the Corrupted Blood was).

These plagues (especially the “Corrupted Blood” epidemic) elicited high interest from epidemiologists. Indeed, they provided a unique model of how a massive population would react in real-time to such a wildly propagating pandemic. But several things have to be pointed out in those examples. First, the plagues were not all planed ... Second, control of plagues is not always granted, but is a very important feature to keep the cyberworld safe (as if not, a massive loss of players may occur). Third, research on those phenomena are highly important, since we need to understand more about human behavior in such situations ...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cyberworld: World of Warcraft and social dynamics

The highly popular MMORPG World of Warcraft has been used a lot by scientists as a model to study social dynamics in virtual worlds. Besides the early descriptive works of Nick Yee, there have been a series of interesting contributions dealing with this aspect.
ð  A general paper, talking a lot about fundamental concepts such as social density (Ducheneaut and Moore, 2004). By the way, the concept of social density is something I am very interested in, and that we use extensively in the current studies.
ð  A very interesting paper, which I quote often, dealing with the guild structure dynamics (Chen et al., 2008).
ð  Our recent paper, which demonstrated that social structuring can also be influenced by the avatars’ visual aspect, and which shows that the influence of this factor depends on the degree of visual anthropomorphism of the constitutive avatars (Lortie and Guitton, 2011).
There is still a lot of work which can be done using World of Warcraft as a model. However, it also has some limits … Its major advantage is that is still has a real “massively multiplayer” aspect, and the impact of the guilds in the game design. You want to reach very very high levels and get really unique items? Well, you better be part of an “elite” guild … This really forces people to somehow develop socially active avatars (which may be bad for real nerds, but which helps us a lot, nerdy scientists J  ).

Ducheneaut , Moore (2004). Social side of gaming: A study of interaction patterns in a massively multiplayer online game. In: Proceeding of the 2004 ACM conference on computer supporter cooperative work (CSW04). New York, NY: ACM Press.
Chen CH, Sun CT, Hsieh J (2008) Player guild dynamics and evolution in massively multiplayer online games. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 11, 293-301.
Lortie CL, Guitton MJ (2011) Social organization in virtual settings depends on proximity to human visual aspect. Computers in Human Behavior, Accepted.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Literature Update

Something interesting, and which is in the same direction as our working hypothesis. This study analyzed some gender-specific characteristics of computer-mediated communication, as a function of the visual aspect of the avatars ... Well, clearly we are going in that direction too (just see some of our recent papers about multimodal integration). It is in a linguistic journal, so it is longer than the papers we are used to read in some other fields, but there are some very interesting concepts ...

Palomares NA, Lee EJ (2010) Virtual gender-identity: the linguistic assimilation to gendered avatars computer-mediated communication. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 29L5-23.

And just to promote ourselves, some of our papers which are related:

Lortie CL, Guitton MJ (2011) Social organization in virtual settings depends on proximity to human visual aspect. Computers in Human Behavior, Accepted.
Guitton MJ (2010) Cross-modal compensation between name and visual aspect in socially active avatars. Computers in Human Behavior, 26:1772-1776.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Research Update: New Publication

One of our lab members, Catherine Lortie, got her first paper accepted today! Congratulations!
A very good study, truly innovative and using MMORPGs as a research model at their full potential. By analyzing the social dynamics and social organization of something like 12,000 avatars in World of Warcraft, we have been able to demonstrate that the social organization in virtual settings greatly depends on the proximity to a standard visual aspect. In other words, those who look the same will group together ... but only if they look like humans.

Lortie CL, Guitton MJ (2011) Social organization in virtual settings depends on proximity to human visual aspect. Computers in Human Behavior, Accepted.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cyberworld: the Second Life City of Tharna

A place in Second Life that I have been following for some time (see my paper about trade role-play). Even if very controversial, the Gorean community is one of the most vivid communities of the virtual world of Second Life, and in this community, the City of Tharna is without doubt one of the most fascinating places. A truly unique place in Gor. This place is what I would call a legend in Second Life Gor: no other place is so widely known in Second Life Gor, and no other place seems to trigger so strongly polarized reactions. All people in Gor know about this City, some hate it, while most others really love this place. Very interesting structure, with the main gates of the City directly in front of the teleporter point (which I see as a sign of maturity: they welcome visitors but are sure enough of themselves to not have to hide their entrance far away). Very open and friendly City, I met some really amazing people there. For sure, due to the fact that visitors and tourists arrive directly in front of the Gates, from time to time it is possible to witness some funny situations on the docks of the City … but it is also a very lively place where one can see really good role-play episodes. Definitively, a place I recommend in Second Life for those interested in seeing exotic worlds.
Oh, yes. There are seasons in Second Life Gor ... so the City looks differently when the snow is melted ...

Guitton MJ (2011) Immersive role of non-required social actions in virtual settings: the example of trade role-play in the Second Life Gorean community. Design Principles and Practices: an International Journal, In press.

Friday, January 7, 2011


Cyberlife impacts our Real Life ... It may sounds either like a trivial statement, or like a strange statement. But it is true. Influence of the mind over the body has been known since ages, and has been enlighten both by philosophers (Matthieu's current level of philosophy in the morning: the old kendo's saying: "ki ken tai no ichi" (the mind, the sword, and the body are only one)) or by scientists alike (e.g., the pretty old scholarly journal named "Journal of Psychosomatic Research"). Anyway, some striking evidence of these connections, and of the impact that cyberworlds can have over real life, can be found in a recent paper published in Computers in Human Behavior, showing that homeless people who are able to get some support in the virtual world have less health problems ... Well, it should be mentioned that the main effect seems to arise from keeping some social connection and social life ... but, isn't that what cyberworlds are all about?

Eyrich-Garg K (2011) Sheltered in cyberspace? Computer use among the unsheltered ‘street’ homeless. Computers in Human Behavior, 27:296-303.

Literature Update

A recent paper showing that presentation of contextual aversive stimuli in a virtual environment can trigger real levels of anxiety. Not really anything new, as anyone who already played a "shoot-them-all" videogame already experienced this. But still, it is somehow quantified here. As well, it is an interesting example of multimodality in virtual spaces, since the subjects were asked to do a spatial orientation task at the same time (even if it could be noted that the spatial orientation task here was really over-simplified ... maybe it was more of a basic locomotor-like task than a real orientation task). So the two modalities concerned were cognitive: spatial and emotional ...

Maïano C, Therme P, Mestre D (2011) Affective, anxiety and behavioral effects of an aversive stimulation during a simulated navigation task within a virtual environment: A pilot study. Computers in Human Behavior, 27:169-175.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Literature Update

A very interesting paper, showing that multimodal processing (in this case, visual aspect (facial features) and movement) occurs in something as important as facial recognition. Something to think about: a nice experimental design, an interesting question in the general psychology of perception, and a clever use of 3D tools.

Pilz KS, Vuong QC, Bülthoff HH, Thorton IM (2001) Walk this way: Approaching bodies can influence the processing of faces. Cognition, 118:17-31.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Comment: Virtual Spaces, Virtual Worlds, and Embodiment

Just some thoughts, and some definitions ... We use and talk about a lot of different fancy words, which relate to even fancier concepts ... But it somehow seems that we often fail to really define these concepts. In a field such as cyberpsychology, which not only borders other different fields (psychology, linguistics, AI, ...), but is also undergoing an amazingly fast evolution, definitions are important. But then, they do trap us as well, so they probably can not be absolute. Anyway, here are some notions with which we are playing: virtual space: any environment which does not have a physical reality (well, and even that does not make sense, as the virtual space is usually stored somewhere in servers ... but you got the idea); virtual world: a virtual space which presents a visual interface strong enough to support a certain degree of autonomy of the avatar (the "embodied" representation of an agent) and a certain degree of internal coherence; embodiement: the process in which a human can "put himself into an avatar", to "appropriate" the virtual body (in "lay words", just watch (again) the movie "Avatar" to get a better idea of what I am talking about!). So, World of Warcraft or Second Life are virtual worlds. Facebook or a blog (for example, this amazingly good blog) are virtual spaces. So, instinctively, one will say that you can have an embodiment process in a virtual world ... but what about getting embodied in a simple virtual space? Well, probably you can as well, at least to some extent. Your Facebook page is part of your ... but not fully you (even if several excellent studies address the level of self-disclosure in social networks or webpages). A blog becomes an "extension" of your (if I were not a scientist (and thus, already insane), I would ask myself about my level of sanity, as I am obviously doing a blog). More seriously, this simple consideration questions the notion of embodiment, or, more exactly, of the virtual body. And that has implications for the way we study human behaviors in virtual spaces.