2021/07/06 | Research | Virtual & Augmented Reality

Congruent information enhances motor skills training

In neurorehabilitation after stroke or brain injury, immersive virtual reality can be a valuable tool to re-train lost motor skills. To date, embodiment of a virtual avatar was hypothesized to be essential for this. Now, the ARTORG Motor Learning and Neurorehabilitation lab, in collaboration with the Department of Psychology, UniBern, has shown in a first study that congruent multisensory information might be even more important to accurately and rapidly perform motor tasks in immersive VR.

Studies into immersive virtual reality for neurorehabilitation have not specifically distinguished between congruent vs. incongruent multisensory stimulation used to modulate body ownership to improve motor task performance. The present study aimed to take a closer look at this correlation between congruent vs. incongruent visuo-tactile information and motor performance.

50 healthy participants performed a decision-making and a motor task. Body ownership was assessed subjectively via questionnaires and objectively with galvanic skin response. Results suggest that congruent information spurred reaction times and completion times of motor tasks in immersive VR, while the benefit of subjective body ownership on motor task performance requires further investigation. Authors conclude that providing congruent information in immersive VR is especially beneficial for training motor tasks, e.g. in neurorehabilitation.