Cybersickness vs Motion Sickness vs Simulator Sickness

Other than motion, there are actually two more common types of motion sickness, cyber and simulator. All three are very similar in the way they impact your body afterwards, but they all have very distinctive difference in the way that they are caused.

Motion sickness

Have you ever had the experience in the passenger seat of the car, where you get caught up in a book or something on your phone, and you start to feel discomfort and light headed? Well, you probably had the experience of feeling motion sickness. Motion sickness is caused by the disruption between the visual movement, and the body’s sense of movement in the inner ear. 1 For example, when you are a passenger in a car your eyes might not fixated on the road the whole time, the car could be turning right and left while your eyes are concentrated on something like a book or a phone. Your eyes do not see the movement of the car turning but your body can still feel it, causing for you to get motion sickness. Most commonly, people get motion sickness by riding in a car, boat, train, airplane or roller coaster. Also an excessive amount of spinning is also another cause motion sickness. Children and women who are pregnant are more susceptible to motion sickness but anyone can get motion sickness but some handle it better than others. 2 Some symptoms can include, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and discomfort. To help treat some of these symptoms, chewing gum, taking deep breaths fixating your eyes straight ahead or onto a non-moving object may help or drinking a carbonated drink may ease the discomfort felt in the stomach.

Simulator sickness

For the people that have experienced a simulator, you might have felt a little nauseous and uneasy after experiencing it. You probably felt Simulator sickness, simulator sickness is a type of motion sickness that many piolets trainees experience after the use of a flight simulator. Of course, most simulators cannot accurately produce to correct amount of movement to correspond to the movement that the screen is showing to your eyes, this is one way you can get simulator sickness.  Another way you can get simulator sickness is due to small spatial limitations in an enclosed simulator. The small space inside an enclosed simulator mixed with lack of full motion can also cause simulator sickness. The only way to get simulator sickness is by using a simulator, amusement park simulator rides and flight test simulators are among the most common types of simulators that people use.  Symptoms can include, drowsiness, discomfort, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. 3 Chewing gum, taking deep breaths, drinking a carbonated drink and fixating your eyes onto forward or onto a non-moving object can help treat some of the symptoms of simulator sickness

Cyber sickness

As our world keeps advancing in technology, a 3rd type of motion sickness has come to light. Virtual reality is a new form of technology that has taken the world by storm but some users of the product, have experienced what they call cyber sickness. Exposure to a virtual environment with moving scenes can cause cyber sickness. Cyber sickness is most commonly caused by using a virtual reality system while your body is stationary. Since only a very limited amount of people have a large space, or the technology to allow them to walk around when in virtual reality, most users are usually standing or sitting in a stationary position, only allowing them to twist their body and head around. The movement seen by the eyes in the virtual environment, is not felt by the body, causing cyber sickness. Even though they seem similar, cyber sickness is different from motion sickness because the sick like reaction is not caused by physical movement, it is caused by the movement of the screen in a virtual environment. Symptoms of cyber sickness can include, discomfort, disorientation, fatigue, sweating, nausea, vomiting and headaches. Cyber sickness is very similar in the in the way symptoms can be treated, chewing gum, drinking a carbonated drink, taking deep breaths and focusing your eyes on a still object or straight ahead. 4

Motion, simulator and cyber sickness are similar in many ways but are very different in the way which they are caused. Identify the cause of your sickness will make it much easier for you to avoid it the next time.

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  1. Motion sickness-topic overview. (1995). Retrieved January 5, 2017, from WebMD,
  2. Davis, C. P. (2016, August 8). What causes motion sickness? Medicine & remedies. Retrieved January 5, 2017, from
  3. Curtis, S. (2013, September 30). Five cures for (digital) motion sickness. The Telegraph. Retrieved from
  4. Curtis, S. (2013, September 30). Five cures for (digital) motion sickness. The Telegraph. Retrieved from


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