The University of Auckland

Project #65: Cognitive Exergaming

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Description:

Exercises have a wide variety of health benefits, but a large proportion of the population does not perform sufficient physical activity. A frequently cited reason is a lack of intrinsic motivation. Exergames have been proposed as a means to address this problem by combining exercises with an enjoyable game play.

While exergames have been originally devised as a means to increase physical exercises, there is increasing evidence that they also have a cognitive benefit. In this project we will investigate whether integrating specific cognitive training tasks (e.g. targeting working memory, attention, executive function) into the game play will increase cognitive benefits and whether it will be more beneficial than performing cognitive training tasks without simultaneous physical activity.

The project will most likely utilise an existing exergaming platform developed by the IMPACT research group (IMmersive Physical Active Cognitive Training) and will have three phases: (1) evaluate cognitive training tasks for their suitability with an exergame; (2) integrate the cognitive training tasks identified above into the exergame – this should be done in a way that the exergame can be played with and without cognitive training task; and (3) evaluate the resulting cognitive exergame. The evaluation should cover both usability and enjoyment, as well as effectiveness (i.e. compare it with doing the exergame without cognitive training tasks, and just the cognitive training tasks).

Outcome:

- Analysis of the current state-of-the-art of exergaming (with an emphasis on cognitive benefits and cognitive training)

- Getting familiar with our existing IMPACT exergaming platform and the prototype game used for this study. In particular this involves identifying existing game play elements and an evaluation of their suitability for cognitive training

- Proposing and evaluating suitable new game play components for cognitive training

- Integrating the game play components identified above into the exergame

- Evaluate the resulting cognitive exergame. The evaluation should cover both usability and enjoyment, as well as effectiveness (i.e. compare it with doing the exergame without cognitive training tasks, and just the cognitive training tasks).

- Applying for an ethics approval for the study mentioned above

Prerequisites

n/a

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Supervisor

Co-supervisor

Team

Lab

Lab allocations have not been finalised