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A New Paradigm for the Study of Cognitive Flexibility in Children and Adolescents: The “Virtual House Locomotor Maze” (VHLM)

Abstract : Classical neuropsychological assessments are designed to explore cognitive brain functions using paper-and-pencil or digital tests. The purpose of this study was to design and to test a new protocol named the "Virtual House Locomotor Maze" (VHLM) for studying inhibitory control as well as mental flexibility using a visuo-spatial locomotor memory test. The VHLM is a simple maze including six houses using the technology of the Virtual Carpet Paradigm TM. Ten typical development children (TD) were enrolled in this study. The participants were instructed to reach a target house as quickly as possible and to bear in mind the experimental instructions. We examined their planning and replanning abilities to take the shortest path to reach a target house. In order to study the cognitive processes during navigation, we implemented a spatio-temporal index based on the measure of kinematics behaviors (i.e., trajectories, tangential velocity and head direction). Replanning was tested by first repeating a path chosen by the subject to reach a given house. After learning this path, it was blocked imposing that the subject inhibited the learned trajectory and designed a new trajectory to reach the same house. We measured the latency of the departure after the presentation of each house and the initial direction of the trajectory. The results suggest that several strategies are used by the subjects for replanning and our measures could be used as an index of impulsivity.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - 12:06:33 PM
Last modification on : Friday, October 15, 2021 - 3:29:35 PM


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Alexander Castilla, Gregoire Borst, David Cohen, Jacques Fradin, Camille Lefrançois, et al.. A New Paradigm for the Study of Cognitive Flexibility in Children and Adolescents: The “Virtual House Locomotor Maze” (VHLM). Frontiers in Psychiatry, Frontiers, 2021, 12, ⟨10.3389/fpsyt.2021.708378⟩. ⟨hal-03376128⟩



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