Postural activity and motion sickness during video game play in children and adults

Abstract

Research has confirmed that console video games give rise to motion sickness in many adults. During exposure to console video games, there are differences in postural activity (movement of the head and torso) between participants who later experience motion sickness and those who do not, confirming a prediction of the postural instability theory of motion sickness. Previous research has not addressed relations between video games, movement and motion sickness in children. We evaluated the nauseogenic properties of a commercially available console video game in both adults and 10-year-old children. Individuals played the game for up to 50 min and were instructed to discontinue immediately if they experienced any symptoms of motion sickness, however mild. During game play, we monitored movement of the head and torso. Motion sickness was reported by 67% of adults and by 56% of children; these rates did not differ. As a group, children moved more than adults. Across age groups, the positional variability of the head and torso increased over time during game play. In addition, we found differences in movement between participants who later reported motion sickness and those who did not. Some of these differences were general across age groups but we also found significant differences between the movement of adults and children who later reported motion sickness. The results confirm that console video games can induce motion sickness in children and demonstrate that changes in postural activity precede the onset of subjective symptoms of motion sickness in children.

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Acknowledgments

We thank Shotah Stoffregen for help with video game terminology.

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Correspondence to Thomas A. Stoffregen.

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Chang, C., Pan, W., Tseng, L. et al. Postural activity and motion sickness during video game play in children and adults. Exp Brain Res 217, 299–309 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-011-2993-4

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Keywords

  • Postural sway
  • Video games
  • Children
  • Motion sickness