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Hum Factors. 2013 Jun;55(3):595-604.

Frequency characteristics of visually induced motion sickness.

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Coventry School of Art and Design, Department of Industrial Design, Coventry University, Priory Street, Coventry CV1 5FB, UK.



The aim of this study was to explore the frequency response of visually induced motion sickness (VIMS) for oscillating linear motion in the fore-and-aft axis.


Simulators, virtual environments, and commercially available video games that create an illusion of self-motion are often reported to induce the symptoms seen in response to true motion. Often this human response can be the limiting factor in the acceptability and usability of such systems. Whereas motion sickness in physically moving environments is known to peak at an oscillation frequency around 0.2 Hz, it has recently been suggested that VIMS peaks at around 0.06 Hz following the proposal that the summed response of the visual and vestibular self-motion systems is maximized at this frequency.


We exposed 24 participants to random dot optical flow patterns simulating oscillating fore-and-aft motion within the frequency range of 0.025 to 1.6 Hz. Before and after each 20-min exposure, VIMS was assessed with the Simulator Sickness Questionnaire. Also, a standard motion sickness scale was used to rate symptoms at 1-min intervals during each trial.


VIMS peaked between 0.2 and 0.4 Hz with a reducing effect at lower and higher frequencies.


The numerical prediction of the "crossover frequency" hypothesis, and the design guidance curve previously proposed, cannot be accepted when the symptoms are purely visually induced.


In conditions in which stationary observers are exposed to optical flow that simulates oscillating fore-and-aft motion, frequencies around 0.2 to 0.4 Hz should be avoided.

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