Attention during exercise is known to affect performance; however, the attentional demand inherent to virtual reality (VR)-based exercise is not well understood. We used a dual-task paradigm to compare the attentional demands of VR-based and non-VR-based (conventional, real-world) exercise: 22 older adults (with no diagnosed disabilities) performed a primary reaching task to virtual and real targets in a counterbalanced block order while verbally responding to an unanticipated auditory tone in one third of the trials. The attentional demand of the primary reaching task was inferred from the voice response time (VRT) to the auditory tone. Participants’ engagement level and task experience were also obtained using questionnaires. The virtual target condition was more attention demanding (significantly longer VRT) than the real target condition. Secondary analyses revealed a significant interaction between engagement level and target condition on attentional demand. For participants who were highly engaged, attentional demand was high and independent of target condition. However, for those who were less engaged, attentional demand was low and depended on target condition (i.e., virtual > real). These findings add important knowledge to the growing body of research pertaining to the development and application of technology-enhanced exercise for older adults and for rehabilitation purposes.
Yi-An Chen, Yu-Chen Chung, Rachel Proffitt, Eric Wade and Carolee Winstein
Anna M. Chudyk, Meghan Winters, Erin Gorman, Heather A. McKay and Maureen C. Ashe
The authors investigated the use of Google Earth’s Street View option to audit the presence of built environment features that support older adults’ walking. Two raters conducted virtual (Street View) and in-the-field audits of 48 street segments surrounding urban and suburban assisted living sites in metropolitan Vancouver, BC, Canada. The authors determined agreement using absolute agreement. Their findings indicate that Street View may identify the presence of features that promote older adults’ walking, including sidewalks, benches, public washrooms, and destinations. However, Street View may not be as reliable as in-the-field audits to identify details associated with certain items, such as counts of trees or street lights; presence, features, and height of curb cuts; and sidewalk continuity, condition, and slope. Thus, the appropriateness of virtual audits to identify microscale built environment features associated with older adults’ walking largely depends on the purpose of the audits—specifically, whether the measurer seeks to capture highly detailed features of the built environment.
Moeko Ueno, Ichiro Uchiyama, Joseph J. Campos, David I. Anderson, Minxuan He and Audun Dahl
Infants show a dramatic shift in postural and emotional responsiveness to peripheral lamellar optic flow (PLOF) following crawling onset. The present study used a novel virtual moving room to assess postural compensation of the shoulders backward and upward and heart rate acceleration to PLOF specifying a sudden horizontal forward translation and a sudden descent down a steep slope in an infinitely long virtual tunnel. No motion control conditions were also included. Participants were 53 8.5-month-old infants: 25 prelocomotors and 28 hands-and-knees crawlers. The primary findings were that crawling infants showed directionally appropriate postural compensation in the two tunnel motion conditions, whereas prelocomotor infants were minimally responsive in both conditions. Similarly, prelocomotor infants showed nonsignificant changes in heart rate acceleration in the tunnel motion conditions, whereas crawling infants showed significantly higher heart rate acceleration in the descent condition than in the descent control condition, and in the descent condition than in the horizontal translation condition. These findings highlight the important role played by locomotor experience in the development of the visual control of posture and in emotional reactions to a sudden optically specified drop. The virtual moving room is a promising paradigm for exploring the development of perception–action coupling.
Jurjen Bosga and Ruud G. J. Meulenbroek
In this study we investigated redundancy control in joint action. Ten participantpairs (dyads) performed a virtual lifting task in which isometric forces needed to be generated with two or four hands. The participants were not allowed to communicate but received continuous visual feedback of their performance. When the task had to be performed with four hands, participants were confronted with a redundant situation and between-hand force synergies could, in principle, be formed. Performance timing, success rates, cross-correlations, and relative phase analyses of the force-time functions were scrutinized to analyze such task-dependent synergies. The results show that even though the dyads performed the task slower and less synchronized in the joint than in the solo conditions, the success rates in these conditions were identical. Moreover, correlation and relative phase analyses demonstrated that, as expected, the dyads formed between-participant synergies that were indicative of force sharing in redundant task conditions.
Edited by Thomas Rowland
David Kahan and Virginie Nicaise
Curriculum interventions aimed at increasing physical activity in schools may prove useful in contexts where changes in policy/environment are not feasible. Design/evaluation of interventions targeting minority groups is important in light of well-publicized health disparities. Religious minorities represent a special subset that may positively respond to interventions tailored to their unique beliefs, which to date have been relatively underreported.
Muslim American youth (n = 45) attending a parochial middle school participated in a religiously- and culturally-tailored 8-wk, interdisciplinary pedometer intervention. School-time ambulatory activity was quantified using a delayed multiple-baseline across subjects ABA design. Visual analysis of graphic data as well as repeated-measures ANOVA and ANCOVA and post hoc contrasts were used to analyze step counts including the moderating effects of day type (PE, no-PE), gender, BMI classification, grade, and time.
The intervention elicited modest increases in males’ steps only with effect decay beginning midintervention. BMI classification and grade were not associated with changes in steps.
Full curricular integration by affected classroom teachers, staff modeling of PA behavior, and alternative curriculum for girls’ PE classes may further potentiate the intervention.
Edited by Thomas Rowland
Louise Foley and Ralph Maddison
There has been increased research interest in the use of active video games (in which players physically interact with images onscreen) as a means to promote physical activity in children. The aim of this review was to assess active video games as a means of increasing energy expenditure and physical activity behavior in children. Studies were obtained from computerised searches of multiple electronic bibliographic databases. The last search was conducted in December 2008. Eleven studies focused on the quantification of the energy cost associated with playing active video games, and eight studies focused on the utility of active video games as an intervention to increase physical activity in children. Compared with traditional nonactive video games, active video games elicited greater energy expenditure, which was similar in intensity to mild to moderate intensity physical activity. The intervention studies indicate that active video games may have the potential to increase free-living physical activity and improve body composition in children; however, methodological limitations prevent definitive conclusions. Future research should focus on larger, methodologically sound intervention trials to provide definitive answers as to whether this technology is effective in promoting long-term physical activity in children.
Manuel E. Hernandez, Erin O’Donnell, Gioella Chaparro, Roee Holtzer, Meltem Izzetoglu, Brian M. Sandroff and Robert W. Motl
in this aging population. Standard tests of gait function in persons with MS include the timed 25-foot walk, yet increased sensitivity may be achieved through the use of more balance-demanding walking tasks ( Stellmann et al., 2014 ). In this study, we examine virtual beam walking (VBW) tasks on a
Marco J. Konings, Jordan Parkinson, Inge Zijdewind and Florentina J. Hettinga
to athletes in competitive sports. 5 Indeed, the presence of a virtual opponent has been shown to improve cycling performance, 6 – 8 and the pacing behavior of the virtual opponent has been shown to affect the initial pace of cyclists in laboratory-controlled conditions. 7 The performance