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Virtual Enactment Effect on Memory in Young and Aged Populations: A Systematic Review

Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Lab, IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano, 20149 Milan, Italy
MySpace Lab, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University Hospital Lausanne (CHUV), CH-1011 Lausanne, Switzerland
Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QB, UK
Department of Psychology, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, 20123 Milan, Italy
Memory and Cognition Laboratory, Institute of Psychology, Paris Descartes University, Sorbonne Paris Cité, 92774 Boulogne-Billancourt, France
INSERM UMR S894, Center for Psychiatry and Neurosciences, 75014 Paris, France
Institut Universitaire de France (IUF), 75231 Paris, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Clin. Med. 2019, 8(5), 620;
Received: 4 April 2019 / Revised: 27 April 2019 / Accepted: 2 May 2019 / Published: 7 May 2019
PDF [1133 KB, uploaded 21 May 2019]


Background: Spatial cognition is a critical aspect of episodic memory, as it provides the scaffold for events and enables successful retrieval. Virtual enactment (sensorimotor and cognitive interaction) by means of input devices within virtual environments provides an excellent opportunity to enhance encoding and to support memory retrieval with useful traces in the brain compared to passive observation. Methods: We conducted a systematic review with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines concerning the virtual enactment effect on spatial and episodic memory in young and aged populations. We aim at giving guidelines for virtual enactment studies, especially in the context of aging, where spatial and episodic memory decline. Results: Our findings reveal a positive effect on spatial and episodic memory in the young population and promising outcomes in aging. Several cognitive factors (e.g., executive function, decision-making, and visual components) mediate memory performances. Findings should be taken into account for future interventions in aging. Conclusions: The present review sheds light on the key role of the sensorimotor and cognitive systems for memory rehabilitation by means of a more ecological tool such as virtual reality and stresses the importance of the body for cognition, endorsing the view of an embodied mind. View Full-Text
Keywords: spatial memory; episodic memory; virtual reality; enactment; memory rehabilitation; embodied cognition; aging spatial memory; episodic memory; virtual reality; enactment; memory rehabilitation; embodied cognition; aging

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Tuena, C.; Serino, S.; Dutriaux, L.; Riva, G.; Piolino, P. Virtual Enactment Effect on Memory in Young and Aged Populations: A Systematic Review. J. Clin. Med. 2019, 8, 620.

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