John Libbey Eurotext

Gériatrie et Psychologie Neuropsychiatrie du Vieillissement


Does virtual reality have a future for the study of episodic memory in aging? Volume 15, issue 1, Mars 2017


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1 Laboratoire Mémoire et cognition, Institut de psychologie, Université Paris Descartes, Boulogne Billancourt, France
2 Inserm S894, Centre de psychiatrie et neurosciences, Paris, France
3 Institut universitaire de France
* Tirés à part

Episodic memory is the memory of personally lived events located in time and space, it shapes our identity and allows us to project ourselves into the past and the future. This form of memory is vulnerable to the effects of age and its alteration, hindering the autonomy of the subjects, can predict the evolution towards neurodegenerative disorders. Hence, a better understanding of this type of memory is a priority in the field of public health. Actually, traditional neuropsychological tools are often decontextualized, using simplistic situations that did not require the mobilization of all the characteristics of episodic memory, thus they just offer a partial measure of this complex mnemonic capacity. Nowadays, the virtual reality (VR) is a tool allowing the immersion of subjects in simulations of real situations, rich in spatial and temporal naturalistic contexts. Due to its many characteristics, the VR allows to solve several limitations of the traditional tests. The purpose of this review is to expose studies that investigated episodic memory in normal and Alzheimer's disease using VR in order to address its relevance as a new tool in the future practice of neuropsychology of aging.