Summary: Listening to music may reduce symptoms of cybersickness, which can cause dizziness, nausea, and headaches when using virtual reality devices. The study found that upbeat music significantly reduced the overall intensity of cybersickness, while upbeat, soothing music significantly reduced nausea-related symptoms.
The study also found that cybersickness caused a temporary reduction in verbal working memory test scores, decreased pupil size, slowed reaction times and reading speed.
- Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have found that upbeat music reduces the intensity of cybersickness in virtual reality, while soothing, upbeat music decreases nausea-related symptoms.
- The study involved 39 participants aged 22 to 36 who assessed their symptoms and performed memory and reaction time tests after experiencing three rides in a virtual reality environment.
- Cybersickness can temporarily impair thinking skills and reaction times, which could limit the use of virtual reality in clinical and educational settings.
- Music could be an intervention to encourage greater use of virtual reality in these contexts.
Source: Edinburgh University
Listening to music could reduce dizziness, nausea and headaches that virtual reality users might experience after using digital devices, research has found.
Cybersickness — a type of motion sickness linked to virtual reality experiences such as computer games — decreases significantly when upbeat music is part of the immersive experience, according to the study.
The intensity of cybersickness nausea-related symptoms has also been found to decrease significantly with music that is both upbeat and soothing.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh assessed the effects of music in a virtual reality environment with 39 people aged 22 to 36.
They conducted a series of tests to assess the effect of cybersickness on the reading speed and reaction times of a participant’s memory abilities.
Participants were immersed in a virtual environment, where they experienced three roller coaster rides aimed at inducing cybersickness.
Two of the three rides were accompanied by wordless electronic music from artists or music streams that people could listen to that had been selected as soothing or joyful in a previous study.
A ride was performed silently and the order of the rides was randomized among participants.
After each ride, participants rated their cybersickness symptoms and completed memory and reaction time tests.
Eye tracking tests were also performed to measure their reading speed and pupil size.
For comparison purposes, the participants had performed the same tests before the rides.
The study found that happy music significantly reduced the overall intensity of cybersickness. Happy and soothing music significantly reduced the intensity of nausea-related symptoms.
Cybersickness among participants was associated with a temporary reduction in verbal working memory test scores and a decrease in pupil size. It also significantly slowed down reaction times and reading speed.
The researchers also found that higher levels of gaming experience were associated with less cybersickness. There was no difference in the intensity of cybersickness between female and male participants with comparable gaming experience.
The researchers say the results show the potential of music to reduce cybersickness, understand how gaming experience relates to levels of cybersickness, and the significant effects of cybersickness on thinking skills, reaction times, ability to reading and pupil size,
Dr Sarah E MacPherson, from the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, University of Edinburgh, said: “Our study suggests soothing or upbeat music as a solution to cybersickness in immersive virtual reality.
“Virtual reality has been used in educational and clinical settings, but experiencing cybersickness can temporarily impair a person’s thinking skills and slow their reaction time.
“The development of music as an intervention could encourage virtual reality to be used more widely in educational and clinical settings.”
The study was made possible through a collaboration between psychology at the University of Edinburgh and the Inria Center at the University of Rennes in France.
About this neuroscience research news
Author: Joanne Morisson
Source: Edinburgh University
Contact: Joanne Morrison – University of Edinburgh
Picture: Image is credited to Neuroscience News
Original research: Access closed.
“Cybersickness, Cognition, and Motor Skills: The Effects of Music, Gender, and Gaming Experience” by Sarah E MacPherson et al. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Cybersickness, cognition and motor skills: the effects of music, sex and gaming experience
Recent research has attempted to identify methods to alleviate cybersickness and examine its sequelae. In this direction, this article examines the effects of cybersickness on cognitive, motor and reading performance in virtual reality.
Additionally, this article assesses the mitigating effects of music on cybersickness, as well as the role of gender and the user’s computing, VR, and gaming experience.