Objective: The purpose of this study was to systematically review cognitive tasks based on virtual reality to assessthe episodic memory of older adults.
Methods: Previous studies published in electrical databases between 2010 and 2019 were searched. The key termsused in the search were ‘Virtual’ OR ‘Virtual Reality’ AND ‘Episodic memory’ OR ‘Autobiographical memory’ OR‘Memory’ AND ‘Elderly’ OR ‘Older’. Finally, eight papers were selected for analysis.
Results: The evidence described in the eight papers was from levels Ⅰ(50.0%) and Ⅱ(50.0%), suggesting that theevidence level of the papers was high. Younger adults, older adults, and the elderly with a mild cognitiveimpairment (MCI) or Alzheimer’s disease (AD) were recruited to investigate declines in episodic memory bynormal or pathological aging. Virtual reality environments were mainly divided into outdoor or indoor environments.
Participants were asked to recall what, where, and when they had information encoded in the environment. As theresults indicate, there were significant differences in memory regarding where and when information was providedbased on normal and pathological aging.
Conclusions: It was confirmed that the memory of where and when information was provided were affected moreby normal and pathological aging than the memory of what information was provided. In the future, throughcognitive tasks related with occupation in virtual reality environments, it is necessary to assess all sub-elementsof episodic memory and conduct cognitive training using such results.