Virtual environments as memory training devices in navigational tasks for older adults.

Lokka, I.E., Çöltekin, A., Wiener, J., Fabrikant, S.I. and Röcke, C., 2018. Virtual environments as memory training devices in navigational tasks for older adults. Scientific Reports, 8 (1), 10809.

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DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-29029-x

Abstract

Cognitive training approaches using virtual environments (VEs) might counter age-related visuospatial memory decline and associated difficulties in wayfinding. However, the effects of the visual design of a VE in route learning are not fully understood. Therefore, we created a custom-designed VE optimized for route learning, with adjusted levels of realism and highlighted landmark locations (MixedVE). Herein we tested participants' route recall performance in identifying direction of turn at the intersection with this MixedVE against two baseline alternatives (AbstractVE, RealisticVE). An older vs. a younger group solved the tasks in two stages (immediate vs. delayed recall by one week). Our results demonstrate that the MixedVE facilitates better recall accuracy than the other two VEs for both age groups. Importantly, this pattern persists a week later. Additionally, our older participants were mostly overconfident in their route recall performance, but the MixedVE moderated this potentially detrimental overconfidence. Before the experiment, participants clearly preferred the RealisticVE, whereas after the experiment, most of the younger, and many of the older participants, preferred the MixedVE. Taken together, our findings provide insights into the importance of tailoring visualization design in route learning with VEs. Furthermore, we demonstrate the great potential of the MixedVE and by extension, of similar VEs as memory training devices for route learning, especially for older participants.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:2045-2322
Additional Information:This work was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Förderung der Wissenschaflichen Forschung) [grant number 200021_149670] (SNSF project VISDOM). Te authors want to thank the URPP (University Research Priority Program) “Dynamics of Healthy Aging” from the University of Zurich for recruiting participants for the experiment and Robert Weibel for his valuable input and feedback for the creation of this paper.
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:31104
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:06 Aug 2018 11:25
Last Modified:06 Aug 2018 11:25

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