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Multidimensional evaluation of Virtual Reality paradigms in clinical neuropsychology: The VR-Check framework

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Author(s)

  • Stephan Krohn
  • Johanne Tromp
  • Eva Quinque
  • Julia Belger
  • Felix Klotzsche
  • Sophia Rekers
  • Paul Chojecki
  • Mert Akbal
  • Cade Andrew McCall
  • Arno Villringer
  • Michael Gaebler
  • Carsten Finke
  • Angelika Thone-Otto

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Publication details

JournalJOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH
DateAccepted/In press - 7 Feb 2020
DateE-pub ahead of print - 27 Apr 2020
DatePublished (current) - 2020
Early online date27/04/20
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Virtual Reality (VR) represents a key technology of the 21st century, attracting substantial inter- est from a wide range of scientific disciplines. With regard to clinical neuropsychology, a multitude of new VR applications are being developed to overcome the limitations of classical paradigms. In consequence, researchers increasingly face the challenge of systematically evaluating the charac- teristics and quality of VR applications in order to design the optimal paradigm for their specific research question and study population. However, the manifold properties of contemporary VR are not adequately captured by the psychometric quality criteria (i.e., objectivity, reliability, validity) commonly referred to by established test theoretical approaches, highlighting the need for an extended paradigm evaluation framework.
To address this gap, we here propose a multidimensional evaluation framework for VR applica- tions in clinical neuropsychology, summarized as an easy-to-use checklist (VR-Check). This frame- work rests on ten main evaluation dimensions encompassing cognitive domain specificity, ecological relevance, technical feasibility, user feasibility, user motivation, task adaptability, performance quan- tification, immersive capacities, training feasibility, and predictable pitfalls. We show how VR-Check enables systematic and comparative paradigm optimization by illustrating its application in an exem- plary research project on the assessment of spatial cognition and executive functions with immersive VR. This application furthermore demonstrates how the framework allows researchers to identify across-domain tradeoffs, makes deliberate design decisions explicit, and optimizes the allocation of study resources. Complementing recent approaches to standardize clinical VR studies, the VR-Check framework enables systematic and project-specific paradigm optimization for behavioral and cogni- tive research in neuropsychology.

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