September 2018
Volume 18, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2018
Sensitivity to Sensory Cues Predicts Motion Sickness in Virtual Reality
Author Affiliations
  • Jacqueline Fulvio
    Psychology, University of Wisconsin - Madison
  • Bas Rokers
    Psychology, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Journal of Vision September 2018, Vol.18, 1066. doi:
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      Jacqueline Fulvio, Bas Rokers; Sensitivity to Sensory Cues Predicts Motion Sickness in Virtual Reality. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):1066. doi:

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Virtual reality (VR) displays can be used to present visual stimuli in naturalistic 3D environments. However, such displays can introduce discomfort, including motion sickness. Some have hypothesized that motion sickness stems from factors related to self-motion and that there are inherent gender differences in VR tolerance (e.g., Riccio and Stoffregen, 1991). We alternatively hypothesize that the discomfort is caused by sensory cue conflicts, which implies that a person's susceptibility to motion sickness can be predicted based on their cue sensitivity. To test our hypothesis, we first measured sensitivity to sensory information in VR. 91 naïve observers viewed 3D motion stimuli in a VR head-mounted display (Oculus Rift). We presented approaching and receding dot motion stimuli at different coherence levels to quantify psychophysical thresholds. Next, we asked participants to watch up to 22.5 minutes of sickness-inducing binocular VR video content. An important difference from previous research is that the VR display was tailored to each individual's inter-pupillary distance (IPD). Observers were free to stop viewing at any time, and we assessed motion sickness symptoms at six points during the experiment using the Simulator Sickness Questionnaire (SSQ). We found that greater cue sensitivity predicted motion sickness, supporting the cue conflict hypothesis. We did not find gender differences: females did not show evidence of greater motion sickness, either in self-reported SSQ scores, or in movie viewing time. We speculate that prior VR results may be related to use of a fixed IPD for all observers. Our results suggest that sensitivity to 3D motion cues can be used as a diagnostic tool to identify individuals prone to motion sickness in VR. Such individuals might benefit from VR media in which specific sensory information is attenuated.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018


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