Young and old users prefer immersive virtual reality over a social robot for short-term cognitive training

Orit Cohavi, Shelly Levy-Tzedek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Socially Assistive Robots (SARs) and immersive Virtual Reality (iVR) are interactive platforms that promote user engagement, which can motivate users to adhere to therapeutic frameworks. SARs use social presence to create affective relationships with users, leveraging the human tendency to be driven by social interactions. iVR uses spatial presence to provide an intense multisensory experience that submerges users in a virtual world. We adapted two such platforms – a SAR and an iVR – to deliver cognitive training (CT), by integrating established cognitive tasks in gamified environments that convey a strong sense of presence. Sixty-four participants underwent CT with both platforms. We tested: (1) their perception of both platforms; (2) whether they preferred one over the other in the short term; (3) their projected preferences for long-term training; and (4) whether their preferences correlated with personal characteristics. They preferred the virtual experience in the short term across age and gender. For long-term CT, there was equal projected preference for both platforms. It may be that a combination of social and spatial presence might yield engagement in long-term training.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102775
JournalInternational Journal of Human Computer Studies
StatePublished - May 2022


  • Cognitive Training
  • Human-robot interaction
  • Immersive virtual reality
  • Social Presence
  • Social assistive robots
  • Spatial Presence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Education
  • Engineering (all)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Hardware and Architecture


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