In September 2023, the normative study of Ice Cream as a virtual reality tool for the assessment of executive functions in children and adolescents is published. This milestone in the industry (as it is the first study of its kind) endorses Ice Cream as a significantly useful test for neuropsychological assessment in the 8-16 age group in terms of planning, learning and cognitive flexibility processes.
Normative data are essential in making a valid neuropsychological diagnosis, since in order to interpret the test results of individual patients it is important to have a context of their reference group (or normative group).
Ice Cream not only allows you to observe and see the final results; it also offers the possibility of obtaining qualitative data. The children are so immersed in the simulation that you see their natural responses to customer refusal when they get it wrong. Those nuances can only be found in this test.Miguel Saura: neuropsychologist, researcher and R&D coordinator at Nesplora
Ice Cream’s normative study characteristics
The normative sample is a total of 821 participants with an age range of 8 to 16 years. Of the total, 49% were female. The participants were recruited from nine assessment centers throughout Spain, taking into account that they did not suffer from any neurological pathology, sensory alterations or any other condition that could limit the use of the hardware. In addition, all participants are native Spanish speakers (the main language of the tool in this study).
The study is published in September 2023 and was conducted by an expert team, comprising:
- Gema Climent, neuropsychologist, researcher and founder of Nesplora,
- Unai Diaz-Orueta, PhD in Psychology and researcher,
- Manuel Fernández, «El Neuropediatra”,
- Fidel Ángel Rebon Ortiz,engineer and researcher, and
- Miguel Saura Carrasco, neuropsychologist and researcher.
This study, in addition to compiling the results of the normative study of the test, provides qualitative data on executive function performance from ages 8 to 16 years.
See the full study in Frontiers, the leading academic research portal for all things neuroscience:
Key concepts related to the normative study
A normative study is a publication of reference values that helps clinicians in the interpretation of patient outcomes, in terms of comparison with their group. It is a key element in clinical practice, so the accuracy of the data and its representativeness must be carefully considered and updated over time.
Executive functions are a set of processes that regulate the capacity for self-control, our responses, planning and organization, time management and in general the achievement of goals. They are mental processes that should function automatically and are considered essential for proper neurological development throughout life.
The assessment of executive functions is a series of analyses and observations that allow categorizing the results within a context or normative group. Historically, assessments have been conducted that do not reproduce real situations, with stimuli and distracters as uncontrolled extraneous variables that are found in real life during assessments, so the validity of traditional assessment is in question.
The assessment of executive functions through virtual reality reproduces environments in three dimensions, with dynamic and immersive interaction, with controlled and controllable stimuli, distractors and other variables, and therefore with more coherent, precise and ecological results for the professional.
Nesplora Executive Functions Ice Cream, or just «Ice Cream,» is Nesplora’s test (part of Giunti Psychometrics) that, through tasks in a simulated environment and with virtual reality goggle hardware, assesses executive functions status completely, accurately and adequately for accurate diagnosis.
I assumed that what one knows about cognitive functions is first studied and then seen in practice. I had to come up with this normative to understand executive functions better than I had studied them. We are generating literature that will soon be studied, because there is no test that teaches you how a person learns and makes decisions .Miguel Saura: neuropsychologist, researcher and R&D coordinator at Nesplora
Find this and more research and relevant academic information under nesplora.com/en/research