Usability and Effectiveness of Immersive Virtual Grocery Shopping to Assess Cognitive Fatigue in Healthy Controls: Protocol for a Randomized Control Trial (Preprint)
JMIR Research Protocols
Cognitive fatigue (CF) is a human response to stimulation and stress and is a common comorbidity in many medical conditions that can result in serious consequences; however, studying CF under controlled conditions is difficult. Immersive virtual reality provides an experimental environment that enables the precise measurement of the response of an individual to complex stimuli in a controlled environment. Objective: We aim to examine the development of an immersive virtual shopping experience
... measure subjective and objective indicators of CF induced by instrumental activities of daily living. Methods: We will recruit 84 healthy participants (aged 18-75 years) for a 2-phase study. Phase 1 is a user experience study for testing the software functionality, user interface, and realism of the virtual shopping environment. Phase 2 uses a 3-arm randomized controlled trial to determine the effect that the immersive environment has on fatigue. Participants will be randomized into 1 of 3 conditions exploring fatigue response during a typical human activity (grocery shopping). The level of cognitive and emotional challenges will change during each activity. The primary outcome of phase 1 is the experience of user interface difficulties. The primary outcome of phase 2 is self-reported CF. The core secondary phase 2 outcomes include subjective cognitive load, change in task performance behavior, and eye tracking. Phase 2 uses within-subject repeated measures analysis of variance to compare pre-and postfatigue measures under 3 conditions (control, cognitive challenge, and emotional challenge). Results: This study was approved by the scientific review committee of the National Institute of Nursing Research and was identified as an exempt study by the institutional review board of the National Institutes of Health. Data collection will begin in spring 2021. Conclusions: Immersive virtual reality may be a useful research platform for simulating the induction of CF associated with the cognitive and emotional challenges of instrumental activities of daily living.