About this Research Topic
Embracing scientific and experimental methodology as a means for studying the human mind, cognitive psychologists started to be interested in the ways of manipulating physical reality in their laboratories in the 19th century. The main idea was to use tailored stimuli in a controlled environment to see the impact of independent variables on the human mind for gathering observable behavior as a response for tasks relating to memory, perception and attention. Technological advances in the latest 30 years also showed that, thanks to cognitive neuroimaging, we are able to observe the neural and cognitive activity before the behavioral response. Simultaneously, advances in computer technology have also led to create a new environment beside reality: a virtual one.
Recently, researchers in cognitive science found out that virtual reality can be a new environment in order to study neuropsychology and affective cognition experimentally. The main paradigm shift here is that virtual reality can not only manipulate everything, but also create new laws of physics, stimuli and objects. The ecological and controlled nature of virtual reality is now used to study neurocognition coupling to the techniques of neuroimaging altogether in experimental studies. This mix of technology permits researchers to conduct studies which would not otherwise be possible without it, thanks to it being fully controlled and evidence-based.
The scope of this research topic is to encourage empirical contributions regarding the use of virtual or augmented reality and virtual agents for affective cognition and neuropsychological studies. These contributions can be theoretical, but experimental studies which make the use of virtual environments coupling to neuroimaging techniques are privileged. The nature of cognitive mechanisms studied can be in a broader sense: Fundamental cognitive mechanisms and its disorders such as in memory, perception, learning and decision making; social cognition, personality and its disorders; psychiatric assessments or remediation techniques of neuropsychological disorders etc. However, ergonomics and workforce-industry oriented studies are not appropriate.
We therefore welcome contributions of Original Research and Reviews on the following topics:
- Studies in virtual environments for neuropsychological studies and its disorders
- Studies in virtual environments for personality and its disorders
- Studies with affective and reactive virtual agents for studies of social cognition and its disorders
- Epistemological propositions regarding the virtual reality and its application for studying the human mind
- Methodological propositions for studying cognition in virtual environments and their coupling with neuroimaging techniques.
Keywords: Neuropsychology, Virtual Reality, Neuroimaging, Human Cognition, Virtual Agents, Virtual Environments
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.