Executive functions are often impaired in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). We used a Virtual Reality version of the Multiple Errand Test (VMET) – developed dusing the free NeuroVR software (http://www.neurovr.org) – to evaluate the executive functions in daily life in 10 OCD patients and 10 controls. It is performed in a shopping setting where there are items to be bought and information to be obtained. The execution time for the whole task was higher in patients with OCD compared to controls, suggesting that patients with OCD need more time in planning than controls. The same difference was found in the partial errors during the task. Furthermore, the mean rank for and for interpretation failures is higher for controls, while the values of divided attention and the of self correction seems to be lower in controls. We think that obsessive patients tend to work with greater diligence and observance of rules than controls. In conclusion, these results provide initial support for the feasibility of VMET as assessment tool of executive functions. Specifically, the significant correlation found between the VMET and the neuropsychological battery support the ecological validity of VMET as an instrument for the evaluation of executive functions in patients with OCD.
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