An fNIRS-Based Study on Prefrontal Cortex Activity during a Virtual Shopping Test with Different Task Difficulties in Brain-Damaged Patients
Sayaka Okahashi, Hokuto Mizumoto, Akiko Komae, Katsuhiro Ueno, Masato Yokoyama, Akinori Nagano, Keiko Seki, Toshiko Futaki, Zhiwei Luo
Department of Computational Science, Graduate School of System Informatics, Kobe University, Kobe, Japan.
Department of Neurology, Nishi Memorial Port Island Rehabilitation Hospital, Kobe, Japan.
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Nishi Memorial Port Island Rehabilitation Hospital, Kobe, Japan.
Department of Rehabilitation Science, Graduate School of Health Sciences, Kobe University, Kobe, Japan.
Division of Occupational Therapy, Department of Human Health Sciences, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.
Faculty of Sport and Health Science, Ritsumeikan University, Shiga, Japan.
DOI: 10.4236/jbbs.2014.46026   PDF   HTML     3,005 Downloads   4,469 Views   Citations


We developed a Virtual Shopping Test with three different task levels for assessment of daily cognitive function using virtual reality technology. The objective of present study was to investigate the difference on task performance, brain activation and subjective assessment in relation to the difficulty levels of the tasks. Subjects were asked to buy specific 2 items in Task 1, 4 items in Task 2, and 6 items in Task 3 at a virtual mall. The tasks and questionnaires were conducted on 10 convalescent brain-damaged patients and 6 healthy young adults. Hemodynamic changes in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) during activation due to the tasks were examined using functional near-infrared spectroscopy. As the result, the mean total time was significantly longer for the patients than for healthy subjects. PFC showed a greater response for related Task 2 than Task 1 in shopping and moving phase in patient group. The patients evaluated Tasks 1 and 2 are more difficult and bring more psychological load than healthy adults subjectively. That is, although the healthy adults did not show large difference in their task performances as well as PFC responses, they can evaluate the differences between three task levels, subjectively, while which could not be for the patients means that patients could not distinguish the difference of the tasks, subjectively. The results suggest that 4-item shopping task might be enough difficulty level that causes brain activation for the brain-damaged patients.

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Okahashi, S. , Mizumoto, H. , Komae, A. , Ueno, K. , Yokoyama, M. , Nagano, A. , Seki, K. , Futaki, T. and Luo, Z. (2014) An fNIRS-Based Study on Prefrontal Cortex Activity during a Virtual Shopping Test with Different Task Difficulties in Brain-Damaged Patients. Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science, 4, 247-255. doi: 10.4236/jbbs.2014.46026.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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