Neurocognition, presence and acceptance of a VR programme for psychotic patients: a correlational study.
Rus-Calafell M., Gutiérrez-Maldonado J., Ribas-Sabaté J.
Patients with psychosis exhibit a wide range of cognitive deficits which are associated with poor functioning and poor outcomes in psychosocial interventions. Recently, virtual reality (VR) has been demonstrated to be a useful tool for treatment and rehabilitation of these patients. We have developed and applied an integrated VR programme to improve social skills in people with schizophrenia: the Soskitrain. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the relationship between patients' cognitive deficits, their sense of presence and their ratings of the programme's acceptability. Twelve clinically stabilized outpatients with a well-established diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder underwent neuropsychological assessment prior to treatment, while after the intervention they completed a questionnaire about their sense of presence and the acceptability of the VR programme. Post-treatment results revealed a high sense of presence among patients, as well as good verisimilitude and high acceptance of the virtual environments. In addition, there were significant negative correlations between sense of presence and deficits in both delayed verbal learning and processing speed. The paper discusses the implications of cognitive impairment for the experience and acceptance of VR when treating psychotic patients.