Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Centered Computing

Committee Chair/Advisor

Sabarish Babu

Committee Member

Andrew Robb

Committee Member

Dawn Sarno

Committee Member

Brygg Ullmer


Virtual reality (VR) technology promises to transform humanity. The technology enables users to explore and interact with computer-generated environments that can be simulated to approximate or deviate from reality. This creates an endless number of ways to propitiously apply the technology in our lives. It follows that large technological conglomerates are pushing for the widespread adoption of VR, financing the creation of the Metaverse - a hypothetical representation of the next iteration of the internet.

Even with VR technology's continuous growth, its widespread adoption remains long overdue. This can largely be attributed to an affliction called cybersickness, an analog to motion sickness, which often manifests in users as an undesirable side-effect of VR experiences, inhibiting its sustained usage. This makes it highly important to study factors related to the malady.

The tasks performed in a simulated environment provide context, purpose, and meaning to the experience. Active exploration experiences afford users control over their motion, primarily allowing them to navigate through an environment. While navigating, users may also have to engage in secondary tasks that can be distracting. These navigation and distraction tasks differ in terms of the source and magnitude of attentional demands involved, potentially influencing how cyber-sickening a simulation can be. Given the sparse literature in this area, this dissertation sets out to investigate how the interplay between these factors impacts the onset and severity of sickness, thereby contributing to the knowledge base on how the attentional demands associated with the tasks performed during navigation affect cybersickness in virtual reality.

Author ORCID Identifier




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