Dr. Nacke's work is located within the information and communication technologies, design, psychology and human-computer interaction space, but also ties closely into the areas of human health and wellness. He uses biotechnology (namely, physiological sensors) and much of his research is located in the field of user research, where he is focused on evaluating physiological signals elicited by humans when playing games. Games provide moments of high stress as well as high engagement; he is interested in finding and evaluating these critical moments of human emotion. Psychophysiological analysis and physiological sensors allow us to track player sentiments to gauge engagement, cognition, and player emotions. When we understand human emotions and human cognition in these critical gameplay situations, we can make inferences about human information processing in more general setting as well. Professor Nacke's research in human-computer interaction in games has also led to finding novel sensors and interaction paradigms that drive how we interact with computers in a meaningful and engaging way.
At the University of Waterloo, Professor Nacke is an Associate Professor and directs the HCI Games Group. He was chair of the CHI PLAY 2014 and Gamification 2013 conferences. His research focuses on the design/creation and evaluation/analysis of digital gaming environments and mechanics; his speciality is using psychophysiological sensors.
He also chaired the CHI 2014 games and entertainment spotlight. His publications have won Best Paper Awards at human-computer interaction conferences. His papers have been cited more than 3,500 times.