Enhanced perceptions of control and predictability reduce motion-induced nausea and gastric dysrhythmia
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- Levine, M.E., Stern, R.M. & Koch, K.L. Exp Brain Res (2014) 232: 2675. doi:10.1007/s00221-014-3950-9
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Nausea is a debilitating condition that is typically accompanied by gastric dysrhythmia. The enhancement of perceived control and predictability has generally been found to attenuate the physiological stress response. The aim of the present study was to test the effect of these psychosocial variables in the context of nausea, motion sickness, and gastric dysrhythmia. A 2x2, independent-groups, factorial design was employed in which perceived control and predictability were each provided at high or low levels to 80 participants before exposure to a rotating optokinetic drum. Ratings of nausea were obtained throughout a 6-min baseline period and a 16-min drum rotation period. Noninvasive recordings of the electrical activity of the stomach called electrogastrograms were also obtained throughout the study. Nausea scores were significantly lower among participants with high control than among those with low control, and were significantly lower among participants with high predictability than among those with low predictability. Estimates of gastric dysrhythmia obtained from the EGG during drum rotation were significantly lower among participants with high predictability than among those with low predictability. A significant interaction effect of control and predictability on gastric dysrhythmia was also observed, such that high control was only effective for arresting the development of gastric dysrhythmia when high predictability was also available. Stronger perceptions of control and predictability may temper the development of nausea and gastric dysrhythmia during exposure to provocative motion. Psychosocial interventions in a variety of nausea contexts may represent an alternative means of symptom control.