We investigated relations between experience driving physical automobiles and motion sickness during the driving of virtual automobiles. Middle-aged individuals drove a virtual automobile in a driving video game. Drivers were individuals who had possessed a driver’s license for approximately 30 years, and who drove regularly, while non-drivers were individuals who had never held a driver’s license, or who had not driven for more than 15 years. During virtual driving, we monitored movement of the head and torso. During virtual driving, drivers became motion sick more rapidly than non-drivers, but the incidence and severity of motion sickness did not differ as a function of driving experience. Patterns of movement during virtual driving differed as a function of driving experience. Separately, movement differed between participants who later became motion sick and those who did not. Most importantly, physical driving experience influenced patterns of postural activity that preceded motion sickness during virtual driving. The results are consistent with the postural instability theory of motion sickness, and help to illuminate relations between the control of physical and virtual vehicles.
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© 2017 Stoffregen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.