Cognition meets Assistive Technology: Insights from Load Theory of Selective Attention

Cognition meets Assistive Technology: Insights from Load Theory of Selective Attention

Neha Khetrapal (University of Bielefeld, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-817-3.ch006
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Abstract

This chapter deals with the issue of treating disorders with the help of virtual reality (VR) technology. To this end, it highlights the concept of transdiagnostic processes (like cognitive biases and perceptual processes) that need to be targeted for intervention and are at the risk of becoming atypical across disorders. There have been previous theoretical attempts to explain such common processes, but such theoretical exercises have not been conducted with a rehabilitative focus. Therefore, this chapter urges greater cooperation between researchers and therapists and stresses the intimate links between cognitive and emotional functioning that should be targeted for intervention. This chapter concludes by providing future directions for helping VR to become a popular tool and highlights issues in three different areas: (a) clinical, (b) social and (c) technological. Coordinated research efforts orchestrated in these directions will be beneficial for an understanding of cognitive architecture and rehabilitation alike.
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Background

Cognitive Rehabilitation

The aim of rehabilitation is to maintain an optimal level of functioning in domains like physical, social and psychological (McLellan, 1991). Therefore, a rehabilitation program is designed for a particular individual and is conducted over a period of time based on the nature of impairment. The basic goal is not to enhance performance on a set of standardized cognitive tasks, but instead to improve functioning in the day-to-day context (Wilson, 1997). Models of cognitive rehabilitation stress the need to address cognitive and emotional difficulties in an integrated manner and not as isolated domains (Prigatano, 1999). Therefore, cognitive training could be of immense help in this endeavor. Cognitive tasks could thus be designed to deal with cognitive functions like memory, attention, language, and so on, and the level of difficulty could also be varied to suit individual specification (Clare & Woods, 2004).

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