Researchers at Illinois Tech are recruiting participants to take part in a new study this summer to promote physical activity using online fantasy sports.
Arlen Moller, associate professor of Psychology at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), together with his research team, has developed and begun testing a system for incorporating participants' real world physical activity into online fantasy games, a form of active video game (AVG) they hope can promote greater physical activity among sedentary adults.
"A basic principle of this research involves taking people's enduring enthusiasm for professional sports and leveraging that enthusiasm to help them become more physically active themselves," says Moller.
Social support from peers has been identified as being one of the strongest predictors of success in programs designed to promote physical fitness. The opportunities for social interaction, Moller notes, is one of the key reasons online fantasy sports may be a platform well-suited to helping encourage healthy behavior change.
Participants will wear an accelerometer designed to measure their physical activity on a daily basis. After a baseline recording period, participants will be given individually calibrated weekly goals, increasing their activity each week until they reach a targeted level of physical activity. If they meet that goal, participants will gain privileges within the online fantasy sports game. Moller says an important aspect of the study is that each participant's activity results will be recorded on a league online message board, a feature designed to stimulate online discussion.
Anyone interested in participating in the study is required to answer a brief online Fantasy Sports Motivation Survey.