Article

The distortion of reality perception in schizophrenia patients, as measured in Virtual Reality

Interdisciplinary Center for Neural Computation, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.
Studies in health technology and informatics 02/2008; 132:475-80.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Virtual Reality is an interactive three-dimensional computer generated environment. Providing a complex and multi-modal environment, VR can be particularly useful for the study of complex cognitive functions and brain disorders. Here we used a VR world to measure the distortion in reality perception in schizophrenia patients.
43 schizophrenia patients and 29 healthy controls navigated in a VR environment and were asked to detect incoherencies, such as a cat barking or a tree with red leaves.
Whereas the healthy participants reliably detected incoherencies in the virtual experience, 88% of the patients failed in this task. The patients group had specific difficulty in the detection of audio-visual incoherencies; this was significantly correlated with the hallucinations score of the PANSS.
By measuring the distortion in reality perception in schizophrenia patients, we demonstrated that Virtual Reality can serve as a powerful experimental tool to study complex cognitive processes.

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