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Open AccessArticle

A Computational Approach for the Assessment of Executive Functions in Patients with Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder

1
Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Lab, IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Via Magnasco 2, 20149 Milano, Italy
2
Faculty of Psychology, eCampus University, Via Isimbardi, 10, 22060 Novedrate, Italy
3
Department of Experimental Biomedicine and Clinical Neuroscience, University of Palermo, Piazza Marina, 61, 90133 Palermo, Italy
4
Psychology Department, Catholic University of Milan, Largo Gemelli 1, 20123 Milan, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Clin. Med. 2019, 8(11), 1975; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm8111975
Received: 16 October 2019 / Revised: 7 November 2019 / Accepted: 12 November 2019 / Published: 14 November 2019
Previous studies on obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) showed impairments in executive domains, particularly in cognitive inhibition. In this perspective, the use of virtual reality showed huge potential in the assessment of executive functions; however, unfortunately, to date, no study on the assessment of these patients took advantage of the use of virtual environments. One of the main problems faced within assessment protocols is the use of a limited number of variables and tools when tailoring a personalized program. The main aim of this study was to provide a heuristic decision tree for the future development of tailored assessment protocols. To this purpose, we conducted a study that involved 58 participants (29 OCD patients and 29 controls) to collect both classic neuropsychological data and precise data based on a validated protocol in virtual reality for the assessment of executive functions, namely, the VMET (virtual multiple errands test). In order to provide clear indications for working on executive functions with these patients, we carried out a cross-validation based on three learning algorithms and computationally defined two decision trees. We found that, by using three neuropsychological tests and two VMET scores, it was possible to discriminate OCD patients from controls, opening a novel scenario for future assessment protocols based on virtual reality and computational techniques. View Full-Text
Keywords: Obsessive–compulsive disorders; virtual reality; multiple errands test; cognitive assessment; executive functions; computational models; decision tree; cross-validation Obsessive–compulsive disorders; virtual reality; multiple errands test; cognitive assessment; executive functions; computational models; decision tree; cross-validation
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Pedroli, E.; La Paglia, F.; Cipresso, P.; La Cascia, C.; Riva, G.; La Barbera, D. A Computational Approach for the Assessment of Executive Functions in Patients with Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder. J. Clin. Med. 2019, 8, 1975.

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