Psychiatry Investig.  2021 Jul;18(7):619-627. 10.30773/pi.2020.0446.

Effects of Virtual Reality-Based Cognitive Training in the Elderly with and without Mild Cognitive Impairment

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Inha University Hospital, Incheon, Republic of Korea
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, Gachon University Gil Medical Center, Incheon, Republic of Korea
  • 4Department of Computer Engineering, Gachon University, Seongnam, Republic of Korea
  • 5Department of IT Convergence Engineering, Gachon University Graduate School, Seongnam, Republic of Korea


This study aimed to introduce a 4-week long fully immersive virtual reality-based cognitive training (VRCT) program that could be applied for both a cognitively normal elderly population and patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). In addition, we attempted to investigate the neuropsychological effects of the VRCT program in each group.
A total of 56 participants, 31 in the MCI group and 25 in the cognitively normal elderly group, underwent eight sessions of VRCT for 4 weeks. In order to evaluate the effects of the VRCT, the Korean version of the Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Packet was administered before and after the program. The program’ s safety was assessed using a simulator sickness questionnaire (SSQ), and availability was assessed using the presence questionnaire.
After the eighth session of the VRCT program, cognitive improvement was observed in the ability to learn new information, visuospatial constructional ability, and frontal lobe function in both groups. At the baseline evaluation, based on the SSQ, the MCI group complained of disorientation and nausea significantly more than the cognitively normal elderly group did. However, both groups showed a reduction in discomfort as the VRCT program progressed.
We conclude that our VRCT program helps improve cognition in both the MCI group and cognitively normal elderly group. Therefore, the VRCT is expected to help improve cognitive function in elderly populations with and without MCI.


Virtual reality, Virtual reality-based cognitive therapy, Mild cognitive impairment
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