Abstract

Cybersickness is a pervasive and deleterious effect of human-virtual environment interaction. This paper applies motion-sickness adaptation theory to cybersickness in virtual environments to determine if the degree of user-initiated control can suppress sickness. It is suggested that if users are allowed some level of control over their movement within a virtual environment, cybersickness will not be as severe as that resulting from an enviornment in which users must follow a predetermined (i.e., scripted) path of movement. While past motion-sickness studies have examined control versus no control, the present study focuses on modifying the level of user-initiated control such that it matches the needs of the task characteristics while minimizing sickness. The degree of user sickness was tested under passive, active, and active-passive control scenarios. As measured by the Simulator Sickness Questionnaire, the active (i.e., complete control) condition reduced the severity of the symptoms experienced as compared to the passive (i.e., no control) condition, but did not do so as completely as the active-passive (i.e., coupled control) condition. The implication is that the level of user-initiated control can be manipulated to modify the deleterious effects of human-virtual environment interaction.

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