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Motion sickness susceptibility

      Abstract

      Motion sickness can be caused by a variety of motion environments (e.g., cars, boats, planes, tilting trains, funfair rides, space, virtual reality) and given a sufficiently provocative motion stimulus almost anyone with a functioning vestibular system can be made motion sick. Current hypotheses of the ‘Why?’ of motion sickness are still under investigation, the two most important being ‘toxin detector’ and the ‘vestibular–cardiovascular reflex’. By contrast, the ‘How?’ of motion sickness is better understood in terms of mechanisms (e.g., ‘sensory conflict’ or similar) and stimulus properties (e.g., acceleration, frequency, duration, visual–vestibular time-lag). Factors governing motion sickness susceptibility may be divided broadly into two groups: (i) those related to the stimulus (motion type and provocative property of stimulus); and (ii) those related to the individual person (habituation or sensitisation, individual differences, protective behaviours, administration of anti-motion sickness drugs). The aim of this paper is to review some of the more important factors governing motion sickness susceptibility, with an emphasis on the personal rather than physical stimulus factors.

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