A team at The University of Winnipeg is collaborating with Project Whitecard Studios to use virtual reality (VR) games for testing episodic and spatial memory.
Dr. Bruce Bolster, associate professor at the department of psychology, along with students Dylan Muller and Stefan Korban, claim that VR games will improve cognitive testing because participants can focus entirely on the simulated environment.
The team believes VR games will improve cognitive testing because participants can focus entirely on the simulated environment.
By making the tasks as realistic as possible, Bolster says they can get straight through to cognitive function without any interference. Participants no longer need to focus on game controls.
“We want to understand how memory works and apply that knowledge to advance our understanding of how the brain and mind interact,” Bolster said in a statement. “Then we can apply that knowledge to help out people with particular neurological conditions.”
Project Whitecard Studios is a Winnipeg-based company that developed DoVille, a VR game which is designed to enhance cognitive function in the elderly. Two other VR games will be tested alongside DoVille in order to assess its impact on memory.
The researchers will gather standard levels of performance in neurologically intact patients. The data will then be used in future research to determine the effect of treatment in patients who suffer from neurological conditions affecting the hippocampus.
Bolster and his team will also be working with Dr. Mandana Modirrousta, a neuropsychiatrist at St. Boniface Hospital and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Manitoba.
Feature photo courtesy University of Winnipeg