Topographical disorientation is frequent among patients after a stroke and can be well explored with virtual environments (VEs). VEs also allow for the addition of stimuli. A previous study did not find any effect of non-contextual auditory stimuli on navigational performance in the virtual action planning-supermarket (VAP-S) simulating a medium-sized 3D supermarket. However, the perceptual or cognitive load of the sounds used was not high.
We investigated how non-contextual auditory stimuli with high load affect navigational performance in the VAP-S for patients who have had a stroke and any correlation between this performance and dysexecutive disorders.
Four kinds of stimuli were considered: sounds from living beings, sounds from supermarket objects, beeping sounds and names of other products that were not available in the VAP-S. The condition without auditory stimuli was the control. The Groupe de réflexion pour l’évaluation des fonctions exécutives (GREFEX) battery was used to evaluate executive functions of patients.
The study included 40 patients who have had a stroke (n=22 right-hemisphere and n=18 left-hemisphere stroke). Patients’ navigational performance was decreased under the 4 conditions with non-contextual auditory stimuli (P<0.05), especially for those with dysexecutive disorders. For the 5 conditions, the lower the performance, the more GREFEX tests were failed. Patients felt significantly disadvantaged by the non-contextual sounds sounds from living beings, sounds from supermarket objects and names of other products as compared with beeping sounds (P<0.01). Patients’ verbal recall of the collected objects was significantly lower under the condition with names of other products (P<0.001). Left and right brain-damaged patients did not differ in navigational performance in the VAP-S under the 5 auditory conditions.
These non-contextual auditory stimuli could be used in neurorehabilitation paradigms to train patients with dysexecutive disorders to inhibit disruptive stimuli.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Spatial navigation, Virtual reality, VAP-S, Auditory stimuli, Executive functions, Inhibit