Training Executive Functions
When faced with a new, difficult, and unexpected problem, we use our brain’s ability to consciously focus on a specific task and direct our thinking towards a goal-directed behaviour; known as executive functions. This area of research aims to evaluate the effect that serious gaming has on these executive functions using the latest technology and innovative tools, ranging from Tablet/ PC-Gaming to immersive environments such as virtual reality. New level of intensive gaming attempts to train the general cognitive abilities of athletes in a non-sport specific context. By improving their cognitive abilities, this may positively translate into better decision-making, which in turn can improve the athletes in-game performance and their confidence in their own abilities to keep up with the cognitive demands of the game.
A secondary aim is to evaluate the influence of a new training environment called the ‘Helix Arena’, which allows for an individual to be fully immersed in a 360-degree environment. The effects of these training devices will be explored in both clinical and athletic populations. The aim of the Neo 360 is to assess individuals on their abilities to perceive and interact with their environment in a complex and fast paced game. The individual has teammates and opponents that are constantly moving around them, and they must play passes to teammates and score goals to be successful. The game places the individual in a stimulating environment that exercises and trains their cognitive abilities all while keeping them amused and willing to continue to challenge themselves in the game.