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Rita F De Oliviera

Dr Rita F. de Oliveira

Associate Professor in Sport and Exercise Science

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  • Telephone:
    020 7815 7959
  • School/Division:
    Applied Sciences / Human Sciences

Dr Rita F. de Oliveira's background is in human movement science and psychology. She gained two masters in Sport and Exercise Sciences, and Sport Psychology at the Technical University of Lisbon. Her doctoral thesis, completed at the VU University Amsterdam, was on the Visual Perception for Basketball Shooting. She was awarded a post-doctoral grant and worked at Royal Holloway University of London and the German Sport University.

She has been at LSBU since 2011. She was Course Director for BSc(Hons) Sport and Exercise Science, and is currently Director of Studies for doctoral students. Rita is Chair of the School of Applied Sciences Ethics Committee, and Vice-Chair of the LSBU Ethics Committee.

Rita's teaching philosophy includes being at the leading edge when it comes to knowledge, as well as trying to bring students into contact with the most recent findings in the field.

Her teaching is about entertaining with substance! By this, she means that effective learning occurs when students are engaged, and therefore one of her main responsibilities is to inspire students to go in search for more. Students who engage with lectures and assignments are on their way to becoming knowledgeable and confident professionals.

Dr Rita de Oliveira is interested primarily in visual perception and action when it comes to motor learning, development and performance.

Her approach to scientific inquiry is based on grounded empirical investigation with the use of inter-disciplinary evidence and methods. The focus of her research is human behaviour with particular attention to the functional link between human visual perception and the action systems. Specifically, she investigates the temporal and spatial aspects of the information sources that guide the learning and control of complex perceptual-motor skills. This work has been conducted with people along the spectrum of coordination, from top level athletes to people with coordination disorder, from younger to older populations.

Perceptual-motor recalibration

Skilled actions are the result of a perceptual-motor system being well calibrated to the appropriate informational variables. Changes to the perceptual or motor systems initiates recalibration, which is the rescaling of the perceptual-motor system to informational variables. Slow or incomplete recalibration place the person at risk of injury so it is important to understand more about how long recalibration takes and which factors contribute to faster or slower, complete or incomplete recalibration. A current project aims to understand these factors in “Stepping into older recalibration” (PhD Milou Brand).

Physical activity

Despite the widely reported benefits of physical activity, many children and the majority of young and older adults across the UK are insufficiently active to meet the current recommendations for healthy living. Increasing physical activity and adopting active lifestyles has the potential to improve both physical and mental health, reduce all-cause mortality and improve quality of life. Current projects aim to identify challenges and opportunities for different populations to engage in physical activity, from the young females of Lambeth in the “This Girl Can” project (PhD Reisha Hull) to the wiser participants of Silverfit in the “EverActive” project (PhD Zsofia Szekeres). Understanding the barriers to engaging with PA and designing tailored interventions that cater specifically to the populations that they wish to target is paramount for effective PA promotion.


Whether it be the abrupt interruption of daily tasks by the constant ping of our cell phones, reading the Evening Standard while listening out for our tube station, or simply the demands of more complex work environments, multitasking is everywhere! In these projects we aim to understand what factors help or hinder people performing multitasks and what mechanisms may underlie performance decrements. In a series of projects we explore task integration, play with predictability, and look into individual differences to find the secret of multitaskers (PhD and Postdoc of both Laura Broeker and Harald Ewolds).

View my publications at
  • European Federation of Sport Psychology (FEPSAC, Secretary General)
  • British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES)
  • British Psychological Society (BPS)
  • European Network of Young Specialists in Sport Psychology (ENYSSP)
  • European College of Sport Sciences (ECSS)
  • Advance Higher Education (A-HE)

Dr Rita de Oliveira is a Managing Council member for the European Federation of Sport Psychology since 2015 (FEPSAC). In this role she has led on the development of professional internships, co-established the guidelines and policy for FEPSAC’s involvement in funded projects, and collaborated on the establishment of the FEPSAC certificate for specialists in Applied Sport Psychology. She is currently Secretary General until 2022.