Academic journal article Psychology in Russia

Technologies of Virtual Reality in Psychology of Sports of Great Advance: Theory, Practice and Perspectives

Academic journal article Psychology in Russia

Technologies of Virtual Reality in Psychology of Sports of Great Advance: Theory, Practice and Perspectives

Article excerpt

1.Technologies of "virtual reality" in sports of great advances: theoretical basics and methodological problems

1.1Construction of "virtual environments" as a new technology in experimental psychology and sports psychology

Now a rise has seen in using a new experimental technology of "virtual reality" (VR) in psychological research. High performance of using this technology in theory and practice proves to be true by the data of medicine, neuropsychology, cognitive psychology and social psychology.

The methods of a virtual reality enrich tooling of experimental psychology by the methods having a row of differences from classical laboratory methods (Yee, 2007; Ducheneaut et al., 2006; Khan et al., 2003; Morganti et al., 2003; Optale et al., 2001). In the work by Zinchenko et al. (2010) the most important of these differences, on which a row of significant advantages of methods VR over traditional methods of experimental and applied psychology is based, explicitly are discussed. We will mark out some of them, which concern using VR methods in sports psychology.

The basic advantage of VR methods with reference to problems of sports psychology is a possibility for a sportsman of function in the space of virtual environment. It allows him/her to use not only static, but also dynamic visual features and also the movements of his/her own body for decision making during the performance of any motorial task. This property radically distinguishes the VR procedure from classical experiments, in which very oft en a subject carries out a task, being in a static position.

A unique feature of virtual reality methods is that it is highly ecologically valid with respect to the problems facing psychology of sports. Indeed, one of the important problems in sports psychology is the degree of correspondence of methods of psychological research to the content and forms of real activity of a sportsman. So far this problem has been complex without any unique solution. Conventional methods to assess sportsmen's psychological state (questionnaires, tests) are not always valid because measured psychological characteristics can be unconscious and depend on a variety of social factors including expert personality (Naisser, 1981; Rock, 1995). These methods also are inadequate to assess of such concepts as "practical intellect" and "emotional intellect", which determine an intellect both as an ability for problem solution and also as an ability to perceive behaviour and emotions of other people. Their testing demands a new stimulus environment, which is similar to the natural environment. There should be a complicated, varying in a time and space row of the visual scenes "provoking" natural behaviour of a sportsman by means of virtual environment, and by its design close to the real environment.

An extremely important advantage of VR in experimental psychology and, especially, in sports psychology is a possibility to introduce the time factor - "time arrow" into the psychological experiment and training procedure of a sportsman. The individual time scale filled with experiences of "past", "present" and "future" is one of the backbones of "psychological fundamentals" of real purposeful behaviour. In sports psychology the transition from laboratory stimulus (test) paradigm to the research of mental processes and states of an active individual in time and dynamics, is a step forward in development of not only methodical, but also methodological baseline of this important area of modern branch of applied psychology.

The virtual reality methods differ from classical procedures also in way that they allow complete control over attention of a sportsman. In virtual environments the presentation of bright dynamic three-dimensional stimuli and on-line response registration have become possible which allows to study sportsman's attention distribution and concentration in the conditions of VR, which are similar to the real environment where competition is held. …

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