Multidimensional Evaluation of Virtual Reality Paradigms in Clinical Neuropsychology: Application of the VR-Check Framework

Virtual reality (VR) represents a key technology of the 21st
century, attracting substantial interest from a wide range of
scientific disciplines. With regard to clinical neuropsychology, a
multitude of new VR applications are being developed to overcome
the limitations of classical paradigms. Consequently, researchers
increasingly face the challenge of systematically evaluating the
characteristics and quality of VR applications to design the
optimal paradigm for their specific research question and study
population. However, the multifaceted character of contemporary VR
is not adequately captured by the traditional quality criteria (ie,
objectivity, reliability, validity), highlighting the need for an
extended paradigm evaluation framework. To address this gap, we
propose a multidimensional evaluation framework for VR applications
in clinical neuropsychology, summarized as an easy-to-use checklist
(VR-Check). This framework rests on 10 main evaluation dimensions
encompassing cognitive domain specificity, ecological relevance,
technical feasibility, user feasibility, user motivation, task
adaptability, performance quantification, immersive capacities,
training feasibility, and predictable pitfalls. We show how
VR-Check enables systematic and comparative paradigm optimization
by illustrating its application in an exemplary research project on
the assessment of spatial cognition and executive functions with
immersive VR. This application furthermore demonstrates how the
framework allows researchers to identify across-domain trade-offs,
makes deliberate design decisions explicit, and optimizes the
allocation of study resources. Complementing recent approaches to
standardize clinical VR studies, the VR-Check framework enables
systematic and project-specific paradigm optimization for
behavioral and cognitive research in neuropsychology.

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Multidimensional Evaluation of Virtual Reality Paradigms in
Clinical Neuropsychology: Application of the VR-Check
Framework