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The Ecological and Construct Validity of a Newly Developed Measure of Executive Function: The Virtual Library Task

  • Belinda Renison (a1), Jennie Ponsford (a1) (a2), Renee Testa (a1) (a3), Barry Richardson (a4) and Kylie Brownfield (a1)...


Virtual reality (VR) assessment paradigms have the potential to address the limited ecological validity of pen and paper measures of executive function (EF) and the pragmatic and reliability issues associated with functional measures. To investigate the ecological validity and construct validity of a newly developed VR measure of EF, the Virtual Library Task (VLT); a real life analogous task—the Real Library Task (RLT); and five neuropsychological measures of EF were administered to 30 patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and 30 healthy Controls. Significant others for each participant also completed the Dysexecutive Questionnaire (DEX), which is a behavioral rating scale of everyday EF. Performances on the VLT and the RLT were significantly positively correlated indicating that VR performance is similar to real world performance. The TBI group performed significantly worse than the Control group on the VLT and the Modified Six Elements Test (MSET) but the other four neuropsychological measures of EF failed to differentiate the groups. Both the MSET and the VLT significantly predicted everyday EF suggesting that they are both ecologically valid tools for the assessment of EF. The VLT has the advantage over the MSET of providing objective measurement of individual components of EF. (JINS, 2012, 18, 440–450)


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to: Jennie Ponsford, School of Psychology and Psychiatry, Monash University, Clayton, 3800, Victoria, Australia. E-mail:


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