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Influence of Sensory Conflict on Perceived Timing of Passive Rotation in Virtual Reality

In: Multisensory Research
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  • 1 Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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Abstract

Integration of incoming sensory signals from multiple modalities is central in the determination of self-motion perception. With the emergence of consumer virtual reality (VR), it is becoming increasingly common to experience a mismatch in sensory feedback regarding motion when using immersive displays. In this study, we explored whether introducing various discrepancies between the vestibular and visual motion would influence the perceived timing of self-motion. Participants performed a series of temporal-order judgements between an auditory tone and a passive whole-body rotation on a motion platform accompanied by visual feedback using a virtual environment generated through a head-mounted display. Sensory conflict was induced by altering the speed and direction by which the movement of the visual scene updated relative to the observer’s physical rotation. There were no differences in perceived timing of the rotation without vision, with congruent visual feedback and when the speed of the updating of the visual motion was slower. However, the perceived timing was significantly further from zero when the direction of the visual motion was incongruent with the rotation. These findings demonstrate the potential interaction between visual and vestibular signals in the temporal perception of self-motion. Additionally, we recorded cybersickness ratings and found that sickness severity was significantly greater when visual motion was present and incongruent with the physical motion. This supports previous research regarding cybersickness and the sensory conflict theory, where a mismatch between the visual and vestibular signals may lead to a greater likelihood for the occurrence of sickness symptoms.

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