Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Short-Term Psychological Effects of Interactive Video Game Technology Exercise on Mood and Attention

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Short-Term Psychological Effects of Interactive Video Game Technology Exercise on Mood and Attention

Article excerpt

A variety of research has shown that exercise enhances both physical and mental health (e.g., Berger, Pargman, & Weinberg, 2002; Carron, Hausenblas, & Estabrooks, 2003). The benefits from exercise include decreased risk for cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, hypertension, certain cancers, poor cholesterol profiles, diabetes, and obesity (USDHHS, 1999). In addition to health benefits, exercise has shown to reduce risks of psychological problems like anxiety and depression (e.g. Carron, Hausenblaus, & Estabrooks, 2003; Schaie, Leventhal, & Willis, 2002) and enhance positive effects on psychological well-being and affective states such as mood improvement (Berger, Pargman, & Weinberg, 2002; Plante, Coscarelli, & Ford, 2001). Hansen, Stevens, and Coast (2001) showed increases in positive mood with as little as 10 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, indicating even short bouts of exercise can produce positive psychological benefits. Furthermore, exercise has been shown to improve mood, regardless of other daily events (Giacobbi, Hausenblaus, & Frye, 2005) and has been reported as a successful method to self-regulate one's mood compared to other behavioral methods (Thayer, Newman, & McClain, 1994). Several explanations exist to explain how exercise enhances well-being and mood, however, no one explanation has support as a primary mechanism producing these positive changes (Weinberg & Gould, 2007). In addition, there is still lack of agreement as to whether exercise benefits occur directly from exercise, social or environmental factors in the setting, or are due to increased perceptions of benefits (Plante, 1999). It has recently been found that exercise in visually stimulating environments results in greater improvement in self-efficacy and mood than less-stimulating environments (McAuley, Talbot, & Martinez, 1999; Plante, Coscarelli, & Ford, 2001; Turner, Rejeski, & Brawley, 1997). The implications are that mood and self-efficacy improvements derived from exercise can be manipulated and that mood changes may be related to the interactive social and environmental experience, rather than to exercise itself.

Although exercise provides clear psychological and physical benefits, many Americans continue to be inactive, increasing lifestyle-related, chronic illnesses (USDHHS, 2000). A negative relationship has been reported between an individual's perception of exercise barriers and that their actual involvement in physical activity (Sallis, Hovell, Hofstetter, & Barrington, 1992). When citing barriers to exercise, lack of time, lack of energy, and lack of motivation are usually cited as primary reasons for inactivity (Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute, 1996) and other research has indicated that, rather than environmental factors, virtually all exercise barriers are intrinsic and can be changed (Nahas, Goldfine, & Collins, 2003)

In adolescents, physical activity barriers involve factors such as lack of parental support, previous inactivity, siblings' nonparticipation in physical activity and being female (Sallis, Prochaska, & Taylor, 2000). Recent trends indicate children's lack of activity has been especially problematic. Children in the United States live in a society that has dramatically changed in the three decades that the obesity epidemic has developed. National overweight and obesity trends have been dramatic for youth and adolescents, with increases in prevalence of overweight in female children and adolescents from 13.8% in 1999-2000 to 16.0% in 2003-2004 and increases in prevalence of overweight in male children and adults from 14.0% to 18.2% for the same period (Ogden et al., 2006).

One cause of the recent increase in childhood obesity increase is lack of free-time physical activity and concurrent increases in "screen time", including television, computer use, and video game activity. …

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