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VR 'Shopping Task' Could Help Test for Cognitive Decline in Adults

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The immersive environment (a virtual shop) mirrored the complexity of everyday life and meant that participants were better able to engage brain structures that are associated with spatial navigation.

Credit: King's College London (U.K.) News Center

A virtual reality (VR) test developed by researchers at the U.K.'s King's College London can be used to assess an individual's functional cognition, and eventually may be used to test for age-related cognitive decline.

Using the VR shopping task called "VStore," 142 healthy individuals aged 20 to 79 years were asked to verbally recall a list of 12 items; they then were assessed based on the time it took to collect those items in a virtual store, select them on a virtual self-checkout machine, pay for them, and then order coffee.

The researchers found VStore simultaneously engaged several key neuropsychological functions, potentially accessing a greater range of cognitive domains than standard assessments.

Said King's College's Lilla Porffy, "These are promising findings adding to a growing body of evidence showing that [VR] can be used to measure cognition and related everyday functioning effectively and accurately."

From King's College London (U.K.)
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