BACKGROUND: In previous research on motion sickness in simulated and virtual vehicles, subjects' experience controlling the corresponding physical vehicles has been confounded with their age. During driving of virtual automobiles in a video game, we separated chronological age from experience driving physical automobiles. METHODS: Subjects drove a virtual automobile in a driving video game. Drivers were young adults with several years of experience driving physical automobiles, while nondrivers were individuals in the same age group who did not have a driver's license and had never driven an automobile. During virtual driving, we monitored movement of the head and torso. We collected independent measures of the incidence and severity of motion sickness. RESULTS: After virtual driving, motion sickness incidence did not differ between drivers (65%) and nondrivers (60%). Game performance and the severity of symptoms also did not differ between drivers and nondrivers. However, movement differed between subjects who later became motion sick and those who did not. In addition, physical driving experience influenced patterns of postural activity that preceded motion sickness during virtual driving. CONCLUSIONS: The results are consistent with the postural instability theory of motion sickness, and help to illuminate relationships between the control of physical and virtual vehicles.
- Motion sickness
- Postural control