Sensory adaptation effects following exposure to a virtual environment
Kaiser, Julie P.
Krebs, William K.
Buttrey, Samuel E.
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The Navy's operational manual 3710.7Q states that flight personnel exhibiting symptoms of simulator exposure must abstain from same day flying duties, and those who have a history of simulator sickness must be removed from the flight schedule for at least 24 hours following simulator exposure. The cause of simulator sickness is currently unknown, but researchers hypothesize it results from a sensory input mismatch between the visual and vestibular sensory organs. Previous simulator sickness studies used questionnaires to measure sickness severity; however this is a crude measure with inconsistent findings. The goal of this study was to determine quantitatively whether low level sensory functions are disrupted in a virtual environment, and determine whether long term simulator exposure causes sensory adaptation. In order to answer these questions, smooth pursuit parameters, perceptual distance estimation, horizontal eye movements, and relative comfort level were measured before and after immersion in four different display formats. This study failed to find any statistically significant changes in low level vision functions. However, as with virtually every other study done on simulator sickness, this study did find statistically significant differences in comfort level (as measured with the Simulator Sickness Questionnaire) when using a head mounted display and a 3 panel display as compared to a control condition
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