Here’s an interesting theory, explained for the Wii : “How the Nintendo Wii will get you emotionally invested in video games.”
“we have to revisit an old theory of emotion, first proposed by the great American psychologist and philosopher William James. In his 1884 article “What is an emotion?” James argued that all of our mental feelings actually begin in the body. (…) without the body there would be no fear, for an emotion begins as the perception of a bodily change.(…)
In the 1980s, the neuroscientist Antonio Damasio realized that James was actually right: Most of our emotions are preceded by changes in our physical body. (…) if you can’t produce the bodily symptoms of an emotion—the swelling tear ducts of sadness, or the elevated heart rate of fear—then you can’t feel the emotion. As Damasio notes, “The mind is embodied, not just embrained.”
In order to prepare for all this hand-to-hand combat, the brain automatically triggers a wave of changes in our “physical viscera,” such as quickening our pulses, flooding our bloodstreams with adrenaline, and contracting our intestines. Once we start stabbing at the squid, these effects are exaggerated, because our active muscles need oxygenated blood. Damasio calls this process the “body loop,” since the brain and body are constantly interacting with each other.
(…) This is the irony of the Wii: although it can’t compete with the visual realism of Sony and Microsoft, it ends up feeling much more realistic. (…)