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Title: The use of virtual reality in the assessment of cognitive functioning after brain injury
Author: Turner, Rosalind G.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1997
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Brain injury causes a variety of cognitive impairments which vary according to the severity and mechanism of injury. Commonly reported impairments concern attention and memory functions. A thorough and accurate assessment of cognitive deficits is essential for the planning and implementation of rehabilitation. The most widely used measures of cognitive assessment tend to be paper and pencil type tests that are carried out in a clinical setting. These have been criticised however as lacking in ecological validity. In the past 15 to 20 years, assessments have been developed which aim to address this concern, namely: The Rivermead Behavioural Memory Test and The Test of Everyday Attention. Research is beginning to address the issue of the use of virtual reality (VR) in rehabilitation after brain injury but little consideration has been given to the use of VR in the assessment of cognitive functioning after brain injury. This may prove to be a superior form of assessment which relates more directly to individual functioning in real life situations. The present study therefore concerns the use of a virtual reality computer programme, as a means of assessing memory and attention functioning. 43 brain injured individuals were assessed using the VR assessment, standard clinical tests of memory and attention and the two newer assessments which are considered to be more ecologically valid. Relatives/carers completed checklists about the observed memory failures of the individuals taking part in the study, as a measure of everyday memory problems. A correlational design is used to analyse the relationships between the different assessments. Further analysis concerns the extent to which the VR assessment involves memory and attentional processing. The potential of the VR task as an ecologically valid assessment of cognitive functioning is discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available