Virtual reality testing of multi-modal integration in schizophrenic patients

Anna Sorkin*, Avi Peled, Daphna Weinshall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Our goal is to develop a new family of automatic tools for the diagnosis of schizophrenia, using Virtual Reality Technology (VRT). VRT is specifically suitable for this purpose, because it allows for multi-modal stimulation in a complex setup, and the simultaneous measurement of multiple parameters. In this work we studied sensory integration within working memory, in a navigation task through a VR maze. Along the way subjects pass through multiple rooms that include three doors each, only one of which can be used to legally exit the room. Specifically, each door is characterized by three features (color, shape and sound), and only one combination of features - as determined by a transient opening rule - is legal. The opening rule changes over time. Subjects must learn the rule and use it for successful navigation throughout the maze. 39 schizophrenic patients and 21 healthy controls participated in this study. Upon completion, each subject was assigned a performance profile, including various error scores, response time, navigation ability and strategy. We developed a classification procedure based on the subjects' performance profile, which correctly predicted 85% of the schizophrenic patients (and all the controls). We observed that a number of parameters showed significant correlation with standard diagnosis scores (PANSS), suggesting the potential use of our measurements for future diagnosis of schizophrenia. On the other hand, our patients did not show unusual repetition of response despite stimulus cessation (called perseveration in classical studies of schizophrenia), which is usually considered a robust marker of the disease. Interestingly, this deficit only appeared in our study when subjects did not receive proper explanation of the task.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationMedicine Meets Virtual Reality 13
Subtitle of host publicationThe Magical Next Becomes the Medical Now, MMVR 2005
PublisherIOS Press
Pages508-514
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)1586034987, 9781586034986
StatePublished - 2005
Event13th Annual Conference on Medicine Meets Virtual Reality: The Magical Next Becomes the Medical Now, MMVR 2005 - Long Beach, CA, United States
Duration: 26 Jan 200529 Jan 2005

Publication series

NameStudies in Health Technology and Informatics
Volume111
ISSN (Print)0926-9630
ISSN (Electronic)1879-8365

Conference

Conference13th Annual Conference on Medicine Meets Virtual Reality: The Magical Next Becomes the Medical Now, MMVR 2005
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLong Beach, CA
Period26/01/0529/01/05

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