Exergames and Neuropsychological Functions in Older Adults: An Experimental Approach

Adriano Pasqualotti, Fausto Amaro, Barbara Neves

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


Digital games that combine physical exercise and cognitive activities, known in the literature as exergames, can improve players’ health and functional capacity. As exergames are becoming popular tools to enhance cognitive functions, we analyzed the neuropsychological performance of older adults who trained with games and others who performed traditional physical activities. We aimed to test if virtual training in multitasking games could result in better performance in brief neuropsychological time and place orientation, attention, memory, language, and arithmetic skills. The sample consisted of 31 independently living older adults. The virtual training group completed interactive activities in multitasking games, whereas the control group engaged in physical activities for aerobic resistance, speed, and balance. The NEUPSILIN Brief Neuropsychological Assessment Battery was used to assess cognitive functions. After 16 weeks of training, the performance of older adults who played games was significantly improved (p < 0.05) for attention, memory, and language. The performance of older adults in the control group was on average significantly improved for memory, language, and praxis (i.e., basic motor skills). This chapter reports on this study, but also reflects on research design and implementation issues considering the challenges and opportunities of experimental approaches and neuropsychological instruments to evaluate the bio-psychosocial impact of using exergames in later life.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAgeing and Digital Technology
Subtitle of host publicationDesigning and Evaluating Emerging Technologies for Older Adults
EditorsBarbara Barbosa Neves, Frank Vetere
Place of PublicationSingapore
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9789811336935
ISBN (Print)9789811336928
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Older adults
  • Multitasking game
  • Mental training
  • Cognitive functions
  • Physical exercises
  • NEUPSILIN Brief Neuropsychological
  • Assessment Battery

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