Using virtual reality to evaluate executive functioning among persons with schizophrenia: A validity study

Naomi Josman, Anat Elbaz Schenirderman, Evelyne Klinger, Eynat Shevil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Persons with Schizophrenia experience difficulties with Executive Functioning (EF) that affect independence and participation in activities. Specifically, EF impacts performance in Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) that require flexible thinking and accommodation to complex environments. However, less is known how schizophrenia affects EF and individuals' performance in activities. IADL performance can be tested using a virtual reality (VR) environment that simulates real life activities. The purpose of this study was: 1) to examine the feasibility and validity of the Virtual Action Planning-Supermarket (VAP-S) to assess EF in persons with schizophrenia as compared to a standardized EF measure (the Behavioral Assessment of Dysexecutive Syndrome, BADS); 2) to compare performance of persons with schizophrenia and healthy controls in the VAP-S; 3) to assess the ability of the VAP-S to differentiate between different levels of EF within schizophrenia; 4) to explore the relationships between negative and positive symptoms and performance on the tests. Thirty persons with schizophrenia were matched with 30 healthy controls. Significant differences in performance between research and control groups were detected on the VAP-S and BADS, with the research group performing worse. Large variations in number of purchases within the VAP-S by the research group point to level of task completion thus secondary analysis was conducted. There was a significant negative correlation between level of the negative signs and overall performance on the BADS and on most measures of the VAP-S. Results of this study support the use the VAP-S to assess EF among persons with Schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-277
Number of pages8
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Dec 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work of the Handicap and Innovative Technology Team (France) is supported by Laval Agglomération and Conseil Général de la Mayenne .


  • Cognitive impairment
  • Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL)
  • Performance based assessment
  • Virtual Action Planning Supermarket (VAP-S)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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