virtual reality, virtual environment, simulator sickness, cybersickness, system design, equipment features


The terms "simulator" and "VR" are typically used to refer to specific types of virtual environments (VEs) which differ in the technology used to display the simulated environment. While simulators and VR devices may offer advantages such as low cost training, numerous studies on the effects to humans of exposure to different VEs indicate that motion sickness-like symptoms are often produced during or after exposure to the simulated environment. These deleterious side effects have the potential to limit the utilization of VE systems if they jeopardize the health and/or safety of the user and create liability issues for the manufacturer. The most widely used method for assessing the adverse symptoms of VE exposure is the Simulator Sickness Questionnaire (SSQ). The method of scoring the symptoms reported by VE users permits the different sickness symptoms to be clustered into three general types of effects or subscales and the distribution or pattern of the three SSQ subscales provides a profile for a given VE device. In the current research, several different statistical analyses were conducted on the SSQ data obtained from 21 different simulator studies and 16 different VR studies in order to identify an underlying symptom structure (i.e., SSQ profile) or severity difference for various types of VE systems. The results of the research showed statistically significant differences in the SSQ profiles and the overall severity of sickness between simulator and VR systems, which provide evidence that simulator sickness and VR sickness represent distinct forms of motion sickness. Analyses on three types of simulators (i.e., Fixed- and Rotary-Wing flight simulators and Driving simulators) also found significant differences in the sickness profiles as well as the overall severity of sickness within different types of simulator systems. Analyses on three types of VR systems (i.e., HMD, BOOM, and CAVE) revealed that BOOM and CAVE systems have similar sickness profiles, which are different than the HMD system profile. Moreover, the results showed that the overall severity of sickness was greater in HMD systems than in BOOM and CAVE systems. Recommendations for future research included additional psychophysical studies to evaluate the relationship between various engineering characteristics of VE systems and the specific types of sickness symptoms that are produced from exposure to them.


If this is your thesis or dissertation, and want to learn how to access it or for more information about readership statistics, contact us at

Graduation Date





Malone, Linda


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Industrial Engineering and Management Systems

Degree Program

Industrial Engineering and Management Systems








Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Included in

Engineering Commons