Computer-Based Neuropsychological Rehabilitation: Virtual Reality and Serious Games

Computer-Based Neuropsychological Rehabilitation: Virtual Reality and Serious Games

Artemisa Rocha Dores (Polytechnic Institute of Porto, Portugal), Fernando Barbosa (University of Porto, Portugal), Sandra Guerreiro (Centro de Reabilitação Profissional de Gaia, Portugal), Isabel Almeida (Centro de Reabilitação Profissional de Gaia, Portugal) and Irene Palmares Carvalho (University of Porto, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9978-6.ch037

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Neurocognitive rehabilitation of people with acquired brain injury (ABI) is a part of neuropsychological rehabilitation that has gained increased interest in response to the growing incidence of this type of injury and to the possibility of post-injury survival, often associated with physical and cognitive deficits, as well as emotional and behavioral changes. These problems call for the need of innovative interventions that can overcome the limitations of traditional approaches to ABI. The recent developments in Information Communication Technology (ICT), such as e-Health and Telemedicine, offer promising solutions, contributing new ways to deliver services. Registering a recent significant growth, the use of Serious Games (SG) and of immersive technologies in the field of rehabilitation provides the opportunity to develop new products that are computer-based and that can be used at a distance in assessment and neurocognitive rehabilitation practices, increasing the ecological validity of the instruments in this area. However, while presenting new possibilities, these technologies also involve new challenges. The investigation of the applicability and effectiveness of these products is thus crucial. The objectives of the present work are (1) to present the definition and main characteristics of SG and Virtual Reality (VR), (2) to discuss implications of their use in the rehabilitation of ABI patients, (3) to discuss the importance of systematic research on the effects of SG and VR, particularly in terms of patient behavior and cognitive functioning, and (4) to present paradigms that can be used to assess different cognitive functions and behavior.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Involvement: Participation and persistence of the users in the task or their motivational degree.

Acquired Brain Injury: A brain damage caused by traumatic brain injury or neurological diseases such as stroke, rather than congenital or genetic disorders.

Neurocognitive Rehabilitation: Part of neuropsychological rehabilitation, aims to improve cognitive functioning or minimize deficits due to brain diseases or trauma.

Interaction: The capacity of the virtual environment (VE) to react to the user’s action; the more the immediate environment changes in response to this action, the more interactive the VE is.

Neuropsychology: The field of knowledge dedicated to the study of the neural mechanisms in its relations to cognitive functions and behavior. It is thus a field of neurosciences that involves cognitive sciences, behavior sciences and their interception.

Presence: The illusion of really being in the rendered virtual environment.

Virtual Reality: Also referred to as virtual environments, is a human-computer interface that allows the users interact with, be immersed and involved in the synthetic environments.

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