ITI presents work on psychology of sports

The XXIV Jornadas da Sociedade Portuguesa de Psicologia do Desporto, held in Funchal from September 14 to 16, 2023, marked a significant event for the convergence of psychology and sports in Portugal. This gathering, co-promoted by the Universidade da Madeira, the Sociedade Portuguesa de Psicologia do Desporto, and several other institutions, aimed to explore advancements in sports psychology and its applicability beyond high-performance sports. Notably, the president of the organising committee for this event is Élvio Rúbio Gouveia, an ITI researcher and Vice-president of the Board. For three days, nearly 200 participants from various nationalities gathered to exchange knowledge and insights related to sports psychology, encompassing both competitive sports and recreational physical activities.

Interactive Technologies Institute’s participation

One highlight of the XXIV Jornadas da Sociedade Portuguesa de Psicologia do Desporto was the active participation of members from the Interactive Technologies Institute (ITI), a testament to the institute’s ongoing commitment to advancing the fields of psychology, sports, and technology. A symposium titled “eGames Lab: Concept and Practical Applications,” organised by Cíntia França, Diogo Martinho, Élvio Rúbio Gouveia, and Pedro Campos, featured several presentations that shed light on the diverse applications of technology in sports psychology.

The Efficacy of a Virtual Gaming Exercise Program on Cognitive Function in Healthy Elderly Individuals

This study, conducted by Élvio Rúbio Gouveia, Bruna R. Gouveia, Honorato Sousa, and Andreas Ihle, delved into the impact of exercise-based virtual gaming on the cognitive domains of elderly individuals. Their findings suggested that integrating virtual games into exercise programs can effectively maintain and enhance cognitive functioning in the elderly.

The Effects of Minigames on the Well-being of Informal Caregivers

Beatriz Peres, Hildegardo Noronha, and Pedro F. Campos presented a study focusing on the well-being of informal caregivers, exploring the impact of virtual reality minigames. Their research revealed that minigames positively affected the mood and overall well-being of caregivers, particularly when they had the choice of games.

Clinical Validation of a Virtual Reality and Neurofeedback-Based Program for Alleviating Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Symptoms

Lina Castanho, Élvio Rúbio Gouveia, and Pedro Campos tackled the pressing issue of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Their research aimed to develop and clinically validate a program that utilises neurofeedback and virtual reality to alleviate symptoms of this debilitating condition, with a focus on non-invasive, effective treatment methods.

Effects of Exergames on Physical Fitness in Overweight and Obese Youth

Cíntia França, Sadaf Ashraf, Adilson Marques, Andreas Ihle, Helder Lopes, Pedro Campos, and Élvio Rúbio Gouveia reviewed the literature on the impact of exergames on physical fitness in overweight and obese youth. Their systematic review indicated positive effects of exergame-based interventions on body composition, cardiorespiratory capacity, and muscular strength in this population.

Effect of a Combined Program of Conventional Exercise Classes and Virtual Reality Classes on the Elderly

João Martinho, Francisco Santos, and Élvio Rúbio Gouveia explored the potential benefits of a combined exercise program that integrated conventional and virtual reality classes for elderly individuals. Their study found improvements in cognitive and physical fitness, suggesting the value of such integrated programs in enhancing the well-being of older adults.

Virtual Nature – An Alternative for Those Who Cannot and Those Who Do Not Want

In this thought-provoking presentation, Hildegardo Noronha, Pedro Campos, Élvio Rúbio Gouveia, and Beatriz Peres discussed the importance of nature for physical and psychological well-being. They utilized virtual reality environments to investigate the impact of exposure to natural settings through technology, demonstrating positive effects on various aspects of well-being.

The XXIV Jornadas da Sociedade Portuguesa de Psicologia do Desporto brought together researchers and practitioners from the fields of psychology, sports, and technology to explore innovative approaches to enhancing human well-being and performance. The participation of ITI members underscored the institute’s commitment to advancing knowledge and practical applications at the intersection of psychology, technology, and sports. The diverse presentations showcased the potential of interactive technologies in addressing real-world challenges, from promoting cognitive health in the elderly to supporting informal caregivers and enhancing the fitness of youth and older adults. These contributions reflect a promising future where technology plays a pivotal role in improving the well-being of individuals across different stages of life.