Head First


Head first into serious health gaming

With the development of an Adaptive Ambient Empowerment tool for the Elderly (a2e2) a group of technicians and media psychologists confront the challenge to change habituated unhealthy life styles. The main goal is to increase physical activity in seniors who are at risk of acquiring or are already suffering from chronic diseases. The a2e2 system incorporates exergames and applies a daily structure by using a digital coach. Several psychological processes must be taken into account if the system wants to stand a chance to achieve the behavioral change it wishes to mould into a healthier lifestyle. From the perspective of Self-Determination Theory, competence, autonomy and relatedness need to be addressed in order to achieve well-being. Intentional modes of self-regulation to achieve well-being often fail. However, implicit self-regulation offers new opportunities that are especially suited to apply in a gaming environment. Research has already shown that a virtual coach and a virtual environment can support positive results concerning interaction with the system and physical activities. Since the available research is still sparse elaborate pilot studies are required. This paper presents a short overview of the core psychological concepts guiding the development of a2e2.

Adaptive Ambient Empowerment of the Elderly (a2e2), Media Psychology, exergames, behavioral change, self-regulation

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