Using virtual reality simulation to study navigation in a complex environment as a functional-cognitive task; A pilot study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Navigation skills are required for performance of functional complex tasks and may decline due to aging. Investigation of navigation skills should include measurement of cognitive-executive and motor aspects, which are part of complex tasks. OBJECTIVE: to compare young and older healthy adults in navigation within a simulated environment with and without a functional-cognitive task. METHODS: Ten young adults (25.6±4.3 years) and seven community dwelling older men (69.9±3.8 years) were tested during a single session. After training on a self-paced treadmill to navigate in a non-functional simulation, they performed the Virtual Multiple Errands Test (VMET) in a mall simulation. Outcome measures included cognitive-executive aspects of performance and gait parameters. RESULTS: Younger adults' performance of the VMET was more efficient (1.8±1.0) than older adults (5.3±2.7; p < 0.05) and faster (younger 478.1±141.5 s, older 867.6±393.5 s; p < 0.05). There were no differences between groups in gait parameters. Both groups walked slower in the mall simulation. CONCLUSIONS: The shopping simulation provided a paradigm to assess the interplay between motor and cognitive aspects involved in the efficient performance of a complex task. The study emphasized the role of the cognitive-executive aspect of task performance in healthy older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-47
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Vestibular Research: Equilibrium and Orientation
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017-IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Navigation
  • elderly
  • functional virtual environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Sensory Systems
  • General Neuroscience
  • Otorhinolaryngology

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