Objective: Recent attention has been given to real-world implications of impairment on neuropsychological tests in older adults. Traditional tests of memory raise questions about their sensitivity to everyday functions, as the results on these tests often have little relation to memory complaints. We compare the memory of older adults and college age adults via a virtual reality-based multiple errands test simulating a retail shopping environment. Method: Participants included 55 undergraduate students (mean age: 19.964; SD: 2.854) and 47 older adults (mean age: 75.563; SD = 7.426). After completing the virtual shopping task, participants were asked to recall the items shopped for using free recall and cued recall methods. Fifteen minutes following the completion of the short-delay recall, with a distractor task in between, participants were assessed via long delay free and cued recall. Results: Results of one-way ANOVAs (Bonferroni correction; p < .0125) reveal significant differences (favoring younger adults) for short-delay free recall (F(1, 100) = 36.67, p < 0.001); short-delay cued recall (F(1, 100) = 21.06, p < 0.001); long-delay free recall (F(1, 100) = 31.24, p < 0.001); and long-delay cued recall (F(1, 100) = 24.16, p < 0.001). Conclusion: We conclude that the virtual reality based shopping task provides a unique opportunity to study memory function within an ecologically valid environment. Results indicate that memory in older aged individuals may be more vulnerable to external disturbance (e.g., ambient noise and distractors in a virtual environment) than younger age controls.
Virtual Multiple Errands Test for “Ecologically Valid” Assessment of Cohort Memory Effects
T Parsons, M Barnett, B Dumas; C-42
Virtual Multiple Errands Test for “Ecologically Valid” Assessment of Cohort Memory Effects. Arch Clin Neuropsychol 2015; 30 (6): 578. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acv047.244
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