Effects of immersion in virtual reality on postural control

Neurosci Lett. 2005 Apr 29;379(1):23-6. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2004.12.041. Epub 2005 Jan 8.


In the present study, we examined the effects of the time lag between visual scene and the head movement in the virtual reality (VR) world on motion sickness and postural control in healthy volunteers. After immersion in VR with additional time lags (from 0 to 0.8 s) to the inherent delay (about 250 ms), the visual-vestibular conflict induced a slight motion sickness in experimental subjects, but no change was noticed in the body sway path with eyes open and closed. However, Romberg ratio of body sway path with eyes closed divided by that with eyes open after immersion in VR was significantly decreased in comparison with that before immersion in VR. Since Romberg ratio is an index of visual dependency on postural control, this finding indicates that the immersion in VR decreases the visual dependency on postural control. It is suggested that adaptation to visual-vestibular conflict in VR immersion increases the contribution of vestibular and somatosensory inputs to postural control by ignoring the conflicting delayed visual input in the VR world. VR may be a promising treatment for visual vertigo in vestibular patients with unsuccessful compensation by its ability to induce vestibular and somatosensory reweighing for postural control.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Head Movements / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Motion Sickness / physiopathology
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Reflex, Vestibulo-Ocular / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Vestibular Function Tests