Semester of Graduation

Spring 2022

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

There is currently no cure for age-related cognitive decline or dementia and current pharmacologic interventions have had limited success at improving daily functioning. Consequently, older adults who experience cognitive decline require assistance with daily activities, which can be quite expensive and lead to caregiver burden. Repeated performance of everyday tasks has been shown to improve performance but requires supervision and direction by another person. The present study evaluated a low-cost computer training program that will use non-immersive virtual reality to enable participants with dementia or cognitive decline to independently practice meaningful everyday activities (e.g., meal preparation). Participants (N= 8) with self-reported cognitive decline underwent daily training sessions on one of two different everyday tasks for one week. Baseline and post-training (within 48 hours of the last day of training and at one month post training) testing was done with real objects and tasks and included both trained and comparable untrained tasks. Results indicated that those mild cognitive impairment (MCI) were the only ones to show benefit from the training in terms of errors post intervention. Results also indicated a relationship between a screener of global cognition and post intervention time to completion, such that those with higher baseline cognition needed less time to complete the trained task post intervention.

Committee Chair

Calamia, Matthew

DOI

10.31390/gradschool_theses.5547

Available for download on Friday, April 07, 2023

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