Can You Train Your Brain To Ignore Car Sickness?

Tue 15th Sep 2020

A new study from the University of Warwick may have found a way for us to trick our brains to reduce motion sickness.

Researchers at the University have found that ‘Visuospatial training exercises’ could help reduce motion sickness by more than 50 per cent and have developed a training tool which can help train the brain.

According to the University, one in three of us is susceptible to motion sickness and that can come in a variety of forms, including car travel, boats, and even virtual reality headsets. But with the introduction of autonomous vehicles on the horizon it is thought that motion sickness could become more prevalent, especially as automated cars might find it hard to mimic a human’s driving actions.

Researchers have looked at the issue and after testing passengers in a virtual autonomous vehicle simulator they found the baseline of motion sickness and were able to determine the severity of symptoms in each individual. Participants were asked to rate their nausea on a scale of 0-20 before completing pre-determined visuospatial training tasks every day for two weeks.

After this period the passengers were put into the simulator again and found that their sickness was reduced by 51% in the simulator, and that figure rose to 58% in an actual car.

“Being able to reduce an individual’s personal susceptibility to motion-sickness using simple ‘brain training style’ tasks training is a massive step-forward in the development of future transport systems, including autonomous vehicles,” said Dr Joseph Smyth from the University of Warwick. “Human factors research is all about how we can design products and services that are pleasurable. Motion sickness has, for a long time, been a significant limitation to many peoples transport options and this research has shown a new method for how we can address this.”