Spatial cognition is the ability to navigate within the world, acquiring and updating information about body position, spatial objects and surrounding space. Its impairment impacts on life quality and personal autonomy, so there is a need for intervention tools. This project aims at testing the potential benefits of navigational training with a new Virtual Reality (VR) videogame, named MindTheCity!. This latter is realized with the purpose of encouraging users to build a survey representation of the environment, creating allocentric cognitive maps. A group of 23 healthy subjects played MindTheCity! one hour per day for four consecutive days. Spatial cognition skills were assessed before and after training, and two fMRI sessions have been conducted in order to explore changes attributable to training in neuronal activity during a memory task. According to pilot analyses, MindTheCity! revealed its capacity to affect some spatial cognition skills in healthy subjects. Indeed, four days of training seem sufficient to both bring behavioural improvements and act on memory networks at a neural level. To conclude, intensive navigational training in a VR environment seems to represent a valid and ecological task capable of enhancing some spatial cognition abilities. Future research should test MindTheCity! as rehabilitative intervention for patients suffering from spatial cognition impairment.

Navigational training in virtual environments: A pilot fMRI study on healthy participants

SCHINELLO, MARZIA;Marcella Caglio;Katiuscia Sacco
2018

Abstract

Spatial cognition is the ability to navigate within the world, acquiring and updating information about body position, spatial objects and surrounding space. Its impairment impacts on life quality and personal autonomy, so there is a need for intervention tools. This project aims at testing the potential benefits of navigational training with a new Virtual Reality (VR) videogame, named MindTheCity!. This latter is realized with the purpose of encouraging users to build a survey representation of the environment, creating allocentric cognitive maps. A group of 23 healthy subjects played MindTheCity! one hour per day for four consecutive days. Spatial cognition skills were assessed before and after training, and two fMRI sessions have been conducted in order to explore changes attributable to training in neuronal activity during a memory task. According to pilot analyses, MindTheCity! revealed its capacity to affect some spatial cognition skills in healthy subjects. Indeed, four days of training seem sufficient to both bring behavioural improvements and act on memory networks at a neural level. To conclude, intensive navigational training in a VR environment seems to represent a valid and ecological task capable of enhancing some spatial cognition abilities. Future research should test MindTheCity! as rehabilitative intervention for patients suffering from spatial cognition impairment.
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FMRI, Spatial cognition, Virtual reality
Maria Bianca Amadeo, Marzia Schinello, Marcella Caglio, Katiuscia Sacco
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/1685384
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