Assessing the utility of a virtual-reality neuropsychological test battery, ‘CONVIRT’, in detecting alcohol-induced cognitive impairment Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • New technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and eye-tracking software have paved the way for more sophisticated and ecologically valid measures of cognitive function. Testing the sensitivity and reliability of such measurements in response to acute alcohol intoxication provides a first step in establishing how these measures may operate in relation to cognitive impairments observed post-concussion. Healthy young adults (N = 54, M = 20.65, SD = 2.06, 30 females) completed the CONVIRT test battery (manual simple and choice reaction-time and saccade reaction-time) at three breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) levels: 0.00%T1, 0.05%T2, 0.08%T3. Participants consumed alcoholic beverages at 30-min intervals, with BrAC monitored at 15-min intervals using a breathalyser. All three CONVIRT measures were sensitive to changes in cognitive performance induced by alcohol at BrAC levels at or exceeding 0.05%. A composite measure was also sensitive to alcohol intoxication (Cohen's d = .85 at BrAC = 0.05%; d = 1.20 at BrAC = 0.08%). Strong test-retest reliability was observed (all r < .80), with no gender differences noted. CONVIRT measures were reliable and detected dose-dependent changes in alcohol-induced cognitive impairment. Potentially, the ecologically valid measures may assist in better quantifying the effects of conditions such as concussion, on cognitive performance.

publication date

  • January 1, 2020