Date of Award


Author's School

College of Arts & Sciences

Author's Program


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (A.B.)




An estimated 80% of individuals with stroke experience upper limb dysfunction and 60% of stroke survivors will not regain full use of the affected arm. Improvement in motor function is possible even in the chronic phase of stroke through motor rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is a lengthy process and has little chance of success if a patient is not dedicated to his or her regime. Highly motivated patients are more likely to adhere to a rehabilitation program and motivation has been linked to better therapeutic outcomes in many studies. This study evaluated how motivating participants of experimental stroke rehabilitation interventions found their upper extremity (UE) rehabilitation regime and compared those scores to the data gathered in the Human Performance Laboratory (HPL). A literature review was conducted. Interventions were sorted into the categories gaming, gaming with assistance, robotic training, mixed reality, and conventional therapy. Six studies from the HPL were used. Mean interest/enjoyment (I/E) subscale scores of the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI) were gathered for each category and the level of intrinsic motivation was determined. All categories produced a highly positive I/E scores. All of the categories except conventional therapy produced a higher mean score for reported I/E than the HPL. Personality traits of the participants can likely account for these higher-than-average levels of intrinsic motivation. Though the HPL did not outperform the other categories, it is comparable to other gaming interventions and has the unique advantages of affordability and accessibility these lack. Future work in personalized virtual reality (PVR) therapy that seeks to make interventions more intrinsically motivating may consider the potential benefits that lie within these other approaches to UE rehabilitation including using specialized games for persons with stroke and providing external support to the players.


Dr. Jack Engsberg

Additional Advisors

Mitchell Sommers

Included in

Psychology Commons