Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Member

Eric R Muth, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Christopher C Pagano

Committee Member

Larry F Hodges


The purpose of this study was to examine if individuals could adapt to varying latency in a head-mounted display (HMD) through repeated exposure. Simulator sickness has been a pervasive problem as HMDs grow in popularity. Recent work by Kinsella (2018) showed that people can adapt to latency in an HMD, but it remained unknown if they can adapt to latency that varies in frequency and amplitude. Following recommendations in the literature, participants experienced three exposures separated by 48 hours of either constant or variable latency. The three sessions were the same length, with participants performing the same task, separated by 48 hours. Thirty participants met the inclusion criteria and completed a target shooting task via a camera feed to the HMD, designed to challenge the visual-vestibular interaction. The target shooting task was also used to assess performance in terms of accuracy and time-to-hit targets. It was hypothesized that participants would adapt to constant, but not varying latency indicated by decreasing sickness over time. Further it was hypothesized that participants would show improvement in psychomotor performance over time for both conditions. Participants showed a reduction in sickness with each session regardless of latency condition. A similar trend was shown with performance- where all participants improved with each session, but there was not an effect of the latency condition. Change in sickness and change in performance were not correlated, suggesting that the two were happening independently. Overall participants showed high sickness scores even after session 3, suggesting they might be showing some desensitization to the stimulus, but not showing sensory adaptation. The overall implication of these findings are that people will show reduction in sickness, but no alleviation with repeated HMD wear while completing a task. Additionally, regardless of these sickness symptoms, they will likely show improvement in performance suggesting a separation of these two systems. This has implications for virtual reality based training and assessments, suggesting that people may need more than just exposure time to adapt fully to repeated usage if they experience initial sickness.



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