Stance width influences postural stability and motion sickness

Thomas A. Stoffregen, Ken Yoshida, Sebastien Villard, Lesley Scibora, Benoît G. Bardy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


We examined the influence of stance width (the distance between the feet) on postural sway and visually induced motion sickness. Stance width influences the magnitude of body sway, and changes in sway precede the subjective symptoms of motion sickness. Thus, manipulation of stance width may influence motion sickness incidence. Participants (healthy young adults) were exposed to complex, low-frequency oscillation of a moving room. Participants stood with their feet 5 cm, 17 cm, or 30 cm apart. During exposure to visual motion, the widest stance (30 cm) was associated with reduced incidence of motion sickness. For all stance widths, motion sickness was preceded by significant changes in motion of the head and torso. The results support the postural instability theory of motion sickness and suggest practical implications for the prevention of motion sickness. Adoption of wider stance may decrease the risk of motion sickness in operational situations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-191
Number of pages23
JournalEcological Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Communication Disorders (R01 DC005387-01A2).


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