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Title: Virtual environments and memory training : a preliminary investigation into the feasibility and efficacy of training amnesic patients in a virtual environment
Author: Andrews, Tresa
ISNI:       0000 0004 2697 3839
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 1999
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Virtual Reality, despite its strong association with the entertainment industry, has recently been suggested for use within the field of neurological rehabilitation. However, to date there has been a relative absence of systematic studies carried out to assess the feasibility, or the potential benefits, for the widespread use of Virtual Environments (VEs) in memory rehabilitation. This investigation aimed to provide preliminary responses to two basic questions concerning the use of VEs in the field of memory training: (1) are VEs a feasible approach and; (2) are they an effective approach to training memory of patients with amnesia resulting from a wide crosssection of single neurological insults and progressive neurological diseases. Six single case experiments were described. All participants presented with amnesia. Three participants were resident in a neurological rehabilitation unit prior to study. The other three were resident in a dementia care unit. The participants' responses to the use of VEs were gained. All participants performed routes in a detailed computer-generated 3D VE based on a rehabilitation unit. Participants also received training on routes, with one of two other route training methods. Their subsequent performance on routes in the real unit was compared to assess the relative merits of training in the VE and with one of the other training methods (map or real unit training). Whilst it was acknowledged that the design of this study (single-case) only allowed the results gained to be regarded as exploratory, the present study provided evidence for the feasibility of using VEs with a varied population of patients with single neurological insult. However, it did not provide evidence for the feasibility of using VEs with a varied population of patients with progressive neurological disease. In terms of specific benefits, the findings from the present study were regarded as promising in suggesting a role for VEs in enhancing impaired memory, for those with single neurological insult. Whereas, for those with progressive neurological disease, the present findings were regarded as less promising.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available