Apr 01, 2007
Learning and memory in virtual reality
Is learning and memory different in a virtual environment?
Clin Neuropsychol. 2007 Jan;21(1):146-61
Authors: Matheis RJ, Schultheis MT, Tiersky LA, Deluca J, Millis SR, Rizzo A
It has been suggested that virtual reality may provide a medium for producing neuropsychological measures with greater ecological validity. The present study examined the usefulness of virtual reality (VR) to assess learning and memory in individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI). A total of 20 TBI participants were compared with 20 healthy controls on their ability to learn and recall 16 target items presented within a VR-based generic office environment. The results indicated that VR memory testing accurately distinguished the TBI group from controls. Additionally, non-memory-impaired TBI participants acquired targets at the same rate as HC participants. Finally, there was a significant relationship between the VR Office and a standard neuropsychological measure of memory, suggesting the construct validity of the task. These findings suggest that the VR Office provides a viable medium for measuring learning and memory. The present results provide preliminary support for the ecological validity of the VR Office, which ultimately can improve assessment of real-world functioning following TBI.