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Visually-Induced Motion Sensitivity (VIMS)

6 June 2012


A number of potential causes of the complaints people make about symptoms of ‘eyestrain’ or headache following the viewing of 3D stereoscopic images have been identified. These include the so-called ‘accommodation convergence conflict’, the incorrect or unusual perspective within the images, and the clarity of focus of diplopic images.

An additional factor not yet evaluated in this context is the production of visually-induced motion sickness (VIMS) when an image produces vection (the feeling of self-motion brought about by the visual stimulus alone).

Experiments are described to demonstrate that:

  • The direction of vection has an influence on the symptoms experienced
  • When the eyes are presented with a visually-ambiguous stimulus, the sensation of vection is determined by eye movements
  • As with true motion sickness, repeated exposure to the nauseogenic stimulus an habituate most people, resulting in a reduction of the symptoms

The relevance of this in the context of the viewing of 3D stereoscopic stimuli is seen by considering the responses reported to some 2D films, such as ‘The Blair Witch Project’, that provoked adverse symptoms amongst the audience. There is no reason to suppose that 3D stereoscopic images are any less nauseogenic – and, indeed, if they were to provide a higher level of Vection then they could be more.

Consequently, although a 3D stereoscopic presentation may produce adverse symptoms, it is not necessarily the case that the stereoscopic nature of the image is the cause, and the symptom genesis may lie elsewhere.


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