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Validation of the Virtual Reality Everyday Assessment Lab (VR-EAL): An Immersive Virtual Reality Neuropsychological Battery with Enhanced Ecological Validity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 August 2020

Panagiotis Kourtesis*
Human Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK Lab of Experimental Psychology, Suor Orsola Benincasa University of Naples, Naples, Italy Interdepartmental Centre for Planning and Research “Scienza Nuova”, Suor Orsola Benincasa University of Naples, Naples, Italy
Simona Collina
Lab of Experimental Psychology, Suor Orsola Benincasa University of Naples, Naples, Italy Interdepartmental Centre for Planning and Research “Scienza Nuova”, Suor Orsola Benincasa University of Naples, Naples, Italy
Leonidas A.A. Doumas
Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
Sarah E. MacPherson
Human Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
*Correspondence and reprint requests to: Panagiotis Kourtesis, Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, 7 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9JZ, Scotland, UK. E-mail:



The assessment of cognitive functions such as prospective memory, episodic memory, attention, and executive functions benefits from an ecologically valid approach to better understand how performance outcomes generalize to everyday life. Immersive virtual reality (VR) is considered capable of simulating real-life situations to enhance ecological validity. The present study attempted to validate the Virtual Reality Everyday Assessment Lab (VR-EAL), an immersive VR neuropsychological battery, against an extensive paper-and-pencil neuropsychological battery.


Forty-one participants (21 females) were recruited: 18 gamers and 23 non-gamers who attended both an immersive VR and a paper-and-pencil testing session. Bayesian Pearson’s correlation analyses were conducted to assess construct and convergent validity of the VR-EAL. Bayesian t-tests were performed to compare VR and paper-and-pencil testing in terms of administration time, similarity to real-life tasks (i.e., ecological validity), and pleasantness.


VR-EAL scores were significantly correlated with their equivalent scores on the paper-and-pencil tests. The participants’ reports indicated that the VR-EAL tasks were significantly more ecologically valid and pleasant than the paper-and-pencil neuropsychological battery. The VR-EAL battery also had a shorter administration time.


The VR-EAL appears as an effective neuropsychological tool for the assessment of everyday cognitive functions, which has enhanced ecological validity, a highly pleasant testing experience, and does not induce cybersickness.

Regular Research
Copyright © INS. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2020

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