Virtual Reality as a Possible Tool for the Assessment of Self-Awareness

Manuel Muratore, Cosimo Tuena, Elisa Pedroli, Pietro Cipresso, Giuseppe Riva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The absence of self-awareness is a crucial aspect in the symptomatology of various neurodegenerative disorders. This characteristic becomes relevant due to the strong implications it has on the patient's quality of life, on the effects that functional dependence has on the caregiver and on the efficacy of the therapy. Faced with a construct as complex as self-awareness, there are in the literature investigations on different aspects of this phenomenon, such as the creation of cognitive models, the study of the neural substrate and the research of appropriate assessment methods that can reliably detect this function. With regard to the assessment methods, there are methodologies in the literature that provide complementary information. The first modality is a quantitatively online measurement based on the discrepancy between the estimate of the patient of his performance and his actual performance, but often neglecting the ecological validity and the real functioning of the subject. The second kind collecting subjective information on the actual daily functioning of the patient resulting from clinical observation or interviews with the subject and caregivers, but obtaining offline information on the functioning of the subject, liable to bias that may imply an overestimation or underestimation of subject's ability. The absence of acknowledged metacognitive functional assessment with normative data to evaluate awareness winks at the emerging and increasingly consistent use of virtual reality (VR) also in the context of cognitive research and clinical assessment. This article aims to make a theoretical proposal regarding the use of this innovative and promising tool as a supplement to the assessment methods of self-awareness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62
JournalFrontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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