Off-vertical axis rotation of the visual field and nauseogenicity

John F Golding, Smitha Arun, Elizabeth Wortley, Kahina Wotton-Hamrioui, Sian Cousins, Michael A Gresty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

24 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Off-vertical axis rotation (OVAR) causes motion sickness which increases with angle of tilt and is most provocative around 0.2 Hz. The aim was to determine the tilt angle and frequency characteristics for visual OVAR, which is also known to be nauseogenic.

METHODS: A computerized scene, as seen by a pilot at moderate altitude, rotated at different frequencies about an axis which could tilt as during OVAR. A concurrent visual detection task controlled attention. Exposures were for 10 min or until nausea developed. There were four experiments: Frequency tuning-visual motion at 0.05, 0.2, and 0.8 Hz, all at 18 degrees tilt of the axis of rotation (N = 14); gross visual tilt tuning-visual motion at 0, 45, and 90 degrees of tilt at 0.2 Hz (N = 12); fine visual tilt tuning -- 18, 36, 54, and 72 degrees tilts at 0.2 Hz (N = 24); and whole-body tilt of the participant at 0, 45, and 90 degrees, viewing rotation about a vertical axis at 0.2 Hz (N = 12).

RESULTS: Nauseogenicity was significantly greater at 0.2 Hz than at lower or higher frequencies. Visual tilts 18 degrees to circa 45 degrees were significantly more nauseogenic. No differences were found between whole-body tilts.

CONCLUSIONS: Nauseogenicity of visual OVAR peaks around 0.2 Hz, and increases with stimulus strength up to circa 45 degrees tilt, similar to real motion. With higher tilt angles, decreasing nauseogenicity suggests that the visual impact is partially quarantined because the motion would appear patently absurd and not a sensory conflict. Whole-body tilt may have failed to modulate nauseogenicity because of overriding somatosensory cues to Earth vertical.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-21
Number of pages6
JournalAviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009


  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motion Sickness
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Rotation
  • Visual Perception
  • Young Adult
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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  • Cite this

    Golding, J. F., Arun, S., Wortley, E., Wotton-Hamrioui, K., Cousins, S., & Gresty, M. A. (2009). Off-vertical axis rotation of the visual field and nauseogenicity. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, 80(6), 516-21.