Laura Fergusson Trust Logo R
Laura Fergusson Trust Logo R


Psychology Research

Title: Comparison of a Virtual-Reality Test of Executive Function with Standard Executive Function Tests and their Ecological Validity

Author(s) and Affiliations:

Ellie Perniskie, University of Canterbury

Dr Nic Ward, University of Canterbury, Insight Clinic

Professor John Dalrymple-Alford, University of Canterbury, New Zealand Brain Research Institute

Dr Joyce Alberts, CDHB

Dr Ashok Jansari, The University of East London

Dr Nina McLoughlin, Insight Clinic, CDHB

Sponsors: University of Canterbury; Laura Fergusson Trust (LFT) Canterbury; and Kathryn Jones, CEO of LFT Canterbury.

Abstract: Despite the availability of numerous standardized tests of executive functions (EF) many EF tests have low ecological validity, as they do not resemble the real-life situations that typically require the use of those cognitive functions. This lack of ecological validity is problematic in that it limits the ability of these tests to predict real-life functioning, and this issue has lead to the development of several EF tests designed to have improved ecological validity. One such test is the Jansari assessment of Executive Functions (JEF; Jansari et al., 2004), which utilizes virtual reality technology. The central aim of the above named project is to examine the ability of the JEF to predict the real-life behaviour of people with and without brain-injuries, and how this test compares to other standard psychological tests in its ability to do so. Other aims of this project are to see how well the virtual-reality test can identify brain-injured from non brain-injured people, as well as establish preliminary normative data, which will ultimately contribute to an international data set for this test. If the virtual-reality test performs well compared to the other tests, this would support the test’s use in routine assessments of brain-injured people.

Active Support

Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability

Volume 38, Issue 3, 2013

A more “normal” life: Residents', family, staff, and managers' experience of active support at a residential facility for people with physical and intellectual impairments

DOI:10.3109/13668250.2013.805738Fiona Grahama*, K. Anne Sinnottab, Deborah L. Snellbc, Rachelle Martin & Claire Freemanb

Published online: 11 Jul 2013


Background Active support (AS) has gained popularity as an approach for assisting people with intellectual disability to engage more fully in everyday activities. Although research has identified changes in the extent that residents are engaged in meaningful activities, the experience of stakeholders such as residents, staff, and family in AS is underexplored.

Method A general inductive approach was used to analyse focus group and interview transcripts of residents (n = 4), staff (n = 13), and family (n = 2) about their experience of involvement in an AS pilot project at one residential care facility in New Zealand.

Results: Three superordinate themes common to all stakeholders' experiences emerged: “living normal lives,” “caring means doing with,” and “engaging with risk.”

Conclusion: Transitioning to AS had been enriching but at times challenging for all stakeholders. Valuing resident autonomy and preparedness for greater exposure to risk are significant considerations in the implementation of AS.