A novel method for reducing motion sickness susceptibility through training visuospatial ability - A two-part study

Appl Ergon. 2021 Jan:90:103264. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2020.103264. Epub 2020 Sep 10.


Everyone can be susceptible to motion sickness (except those with complete loss of labyrinth function) and around one in three are known to be servery susceptible. Motion sickness can be experienced in many domains, including car travel, on a boat, using virtual reality headsets and simulator use amongst others. It is expected that due to potential designs and use cases, self-driving cars will increase motion sickness onset likelihood and severity for many car travellers. Besides medication, there are limited methods through which one can actively reduce their motion sickness susceptibility. This research develops a novel visuospatial training tool and explores the effect of visuospatial training on motion sickness. With a combined sample of 42 participants split between driving simulator trials (n = 20), and on-road trials (n = 22) baseline visuospatial skills and motion sickness were first measured. After a 14-day training period where participates completed 15-min of pen and paper tasks per day, it was found that visuospatial skills improved by 40%. This increase in visuospatial ability was shown to be directly responsible for a reduction in motion sickness by 51% in the simulator (with a 60% reduction in participant dropouts) and a 58% reduction in the on-road trial. This research has successfully identified a new method to reduce motion sickness susceptibility and the impact of these findings have wide reaching implications for motion sickness research, especially in the field of self-driving vehicles.

Keywords: Carsickness; Driving simulator; Human factors; Mental rotation; Motion sickness; Visuospatial.

MeSH terms

  • Automobile Driving*
  • Automobiles
  • Humans
  • Motion Sickness* / prevention & control
  • Ships
  • Virtual Reality*