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BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2016 Mar 19;16:37. doi: 10.1186/s12911-016-0276-5.

Psychometric assessment and behavioral experiments using a free virtual reality platform and computational science.

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Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Lab, Milan, MI, Italy.
Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Lab, Milan, MI, Italy.
Department of Psychology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy.



Virtual Reality has been extensively used in a wide range of psychological experiments. In this study, we aimed to introduce NeuroVirtual 3D, a platform that clinicians could use free of charge.


The platform we developed relies on NeuroVR software, but we extended it to apply to experiments. The software is available free of charge to researchers and clinical practitioners who can also use a large number of virtual environments and objects already developed.


The platform has been developed to connect to virtually every device ever produced by the means of Virtual-Reality Peripheral Network (VRPN) protocols; however, a number of these have already been included and tested in the platform. Among the available devices, the Microsoft Kinect low-cost sensor has already been configured for navigation through the virtual environments and to trigger specific action (sounds, videos, images, and the like) when a specific gesture is recognized, e.g., a step forward or an arm up. A task for neglect and a task for spatial abilities assessment were already implemented within the platform. Moreover, NeuroVirtual 3D integrated a TCP-IP-based module (bridge) to collect the data from virtually any existent biosensor (Thought-Technology, Zephyr and StarStim devices have already been included in the platform). It is able to record any psychophysiological signal during any experiment using also the computed indices in real time.


NeuroVirtual 3D is able to record external and internal (e.g., coordinates, keys-press, timestamp) data with a millisecond precision, representing de facto the most advanced technology for experimental psychology using virtual environments available without the needs to program code.


Behavioral measurement; Psychometrics; Psychophysiology; Tools; Virtual reality

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