Toronto Metropolitan University
Igoshina, Elizaveta.pdf (1.5 MB)

The effect of visually induced motion sickness on driving performance in a virtual reality simulator and the efficacy of airflow as a countermeasure

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posted on 2023-09-25, 20:09 authored by Elizaveta (Liza) Igoshina

Background: Virtual reality (VR) driving simulation technologies have a myriad of applications from entertainment to scientific and medical research. However, they also are known to cause visually induced motion sickness (VIMS), a special form of traditional motion sickness. Common side effects of VIMS include nausea and disorientation, suggesting VIMS can bias driving performance. Objectives: We (1) investigated how VIMS affects performance in a simulated driving task and (2) examined a potential treatment to reduce VIMS through in-vehicle ventilation. 

Method: Twenty-three participants were engaged in a driving task where they react to hazards, obey speed limits, and complete common driving maneuvers. Driving performance (Objective 1) was evaluated based on various common driving criteria and compared between high- and low VIMS groups. To study the effect of airflow on VIMS (Objective 2), for half of the participants the car vents were positioned to face the drivers head and torso having airflow directly contact the driver’s skin, creating the experimental group: airflow (direct, indirect). The level of VIMS was measured before and after the simulated drive. 

Results: We found no differences in VIMS severity between airflow groups, indicating both direct and indirect airflow were equally successful prophylaxes to VIMS. We found no differences in driving performance between participants who experienced high- and low VIMS, indicating driving performance was not influenced by VIMS. Conclusion: Due to their equal prophylactic effects, both direct and indirect airflow can be used as a low cost, effective means of reducing VIMS in VR driving simulators. Furthermore, as driving-performance was not affected by VIMS, driving-simulator results of participants who experience high levels of VIMS can be treated equal to participants who experience low levels of VIMS. As these results are preliminary given we were unable to reach our minimum sample size of 40 participants, more data collection is required in order to be able to make a concrete conclusion.





  • Master of Arts


  • Psychology

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • Thesis

Thesis Advisor

Dr. Behrang Keshavarz



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