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Use of Virtual Reality to Communicate Concepts of Genomics to the General Public

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00316056
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : April 19, 2006
Last Update Posted : July 2, 2017
Information provided by:
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)

Brief Summary:

This study will investigate how people learn best about genetics. It involves participating in activities in NHGRI's Immersive Virtual Environment Laboratory (IVE lab), where digital "virtual worlds" are created that appear to surround the subject when he or she wears a head-mounted display.

English-speaking men and women between 18 and 40 years of age may be eligible for this study. Participants are randomly assigned to one of two groups, each of which receives a different type of information, once in the IVE lab. Subjects complete a questionnaire before and after performing the activities in the lab. The questionnaire evaluates the subject's knowledge of genetics and tests some reading and number skills.

Condition or disease
Healthy Learning Communication

Detailed Description:
This study will be the foundation of an innovative program of research designed to investigate how to communicate the complex concepts of genomics to the general public. The focus of the study will be one particular concept, the idea that genetic and environmental factors interact to affect risk of common diseases. One objective of this study will be to examine the effects of pedagogical modality (i.e., learning mode) on conceptual understanding (i.e., comprehension). A learning-by-doing (i.e., self-driven, interactive activities) condition will be compared to a learning-by-assimilation (i.e., lecture) condition to assess the effects on comprehension. The second objective of the study is to examine possible moderation of the hypothesized relationship between learning mode and comprehension by health literacy or genetic literacy (i.e., literacy skills related to these specific content areas). The third study objective is to explore possible mediators of the relationship between learning mode and comprehension. These experiments will be conducted in the NIH Immersive Virtual Environment Testing area in order to hold presentation medium constant while comparing the two learning modes. 150 participants will be for the experimental comparison phase. Because in the primary focus of the study is how the general public learns best, study participants will be healthy adult volunteers without specialized genetics knowledge. Exclusion criteria include self-reported diagnosis with epilepsy, vision or hearing problems, and vestibular disorders (e.g., dizziness, vertigo, motion sickness). Two learning-by-doing virtual environments (IVEs) and two learning-by-assimilation IVEs have been developed and pilot tested, and the IVEs that best convey the idea of gene-environment interactions have been selected for the experimental comparison. Participants will be randomized to one of two conditions: Learning-by-doing or Learning-by-assimilation; each participant will complete one IVE. The study will have two primary outcomes, both measures of comprehension: a fourteen-item measure of recall (i.e., remembering content as presented) and a six-item measure of transfer (i.e., applying content to new situations). These data will provide a foundation for a program of research investigating how best to communicate genomic concepts to the general public and, eventually, the development of effective genomic communication strategies for disease prevention interventions.

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Study Type : Observational
Enrollment : 346 participants
Official Title: Using Virtual Reality to Test Communication Strategies for Genomic Concepts
Study Start Date : April 14, 2006
Actual Primary Completion Date : October 17, 2007

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 40 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

All participants in this study will be healthy adult volunteers. Eligibility criteria for the study are: (1) being 18-40 years of age; (2) being able to speak English and having basic English reading and writing skills; and (3) not having taken a genetics course in the past five years. Both men and women will be included in the study. We will exclude women in their last trimester of pregnancy from the study, due to the small chance of study participants tripping or bumping into walls.

Because we are interested in how members of the general public learn best about genomic topics, participants in this study will be healthy adults. Individuals who are particularly susceptible to motion sickness will be excluded. Therefore, all participants will be screened for the following conditions prior to enrollment in the study: self-reported diagnosis with epilepsy, low vision, hearing problems, or vestibular disorders (e.g., dizziness, vertigo, motion sickness).

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00316056

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United States, Maryland
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)

Layout table for additonal information Identifier: NCT00316056     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 060143
First Posted: April 19, 2006    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: July 2, 2017
Last Verified: August 25, 2009

Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):
Genetic Literacy
Genetic Knowledge
Public Understanding of Science
Science Education
Healthy Volunteer