Human spatial navigation deficits after traumatic brain injury shown in the arena maze, a virtual Morris water maze

Brain Inj. 2006 Feb;20(2):189-203. doi: 10.1080/02699050500456410.


Objective: Survivors of traumatic brain injury (TBI) often have spatial navigation deficits. This study examined such deficits and conducted a detailed analysis of navigational behaviour in a virtual environment.

Design: TBI survivors were tested in a computer simulation of the Morris water maze task that required them to find and remember the location of an invisible platform that was always in the same location. A follow-up questionnaire assessed everyday spatial ability.

Method: Fourteen survivors of moderate-to-severe TBI were compared to 12 non-injured participants.

Results: TBI survivors navigated to a visible platform but could not learn the location of the invisible platform. The difference between TBI survivors and uninjured participants was best indicated by two new dependent variables, path efficacy and spatial scores.

Conclusion: This study confirms the capacity of virtual environments to reveal spatial navigation deficits after TBI and establishes the best way to identify such deficits.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Injuries / complications*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maze Learning
  • Middle Aged
  • Space Perception*
  • Spatial Behavior