The role of sense of presence in expressing cognitive abilities in a virtual reality task: an initial validation study.

Scientific reports(2023)

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There is a raised interest in literature to use Virtual Reality (VR) technology as an assessment tool for cognitive domains. One of the essential advantages of transforming tests in an immersive virtual environment is the possibility of automatically calculating the test's score, a time-consuming process under natural conditions. Although the characteristics of VR can deliver different degrees of immersion in a virtual environment, the sense of presence could jeopardize the evolution of these practices. The sense of presence results from a complex interaction between human, contextual factors, and the VR environment. The present study has two aims: firstly, it contributes to the validation of a virtual version of the naturalistic action test (i.e., virtual reality action test); second, it aims to evaluate the role of sense of presence as a critical booster of the expression of cognitive abilities during virtual reality tasks. The study relies on healthy adults tested in virtual and real conditions in a cross-over research design. The study's results support the validity of the virtual reality action test. Furthermore, two structural equation models are tested to comprehend the role of sense of presence as a moderator in the relationship between cognitive abilities and virtual task performance.
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