Predicting Simulator Adaptation Syndrome from Driver Visual Characteristics

Driving simulators allow researchers to maximize control and replicability while minimizing the risk of injury to the driver and other road users. These advantages, however, are offset by the possible development of simulator adaptation syndrome (SAS), characterized by negative physical side effects such as headache or nausea. The theory that SAS may be caused by conflicting cues between the visual and vestibular systems and by simulators’ visual display features suggests the driver’s visual abilities may be important in determining SAS susceptibility. The present study investigated the predictability of SAS from driver visual characteristics in participants with neurological diseases (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, sleep apnea, stroke) and neurologically unimpaired drivers. SAS was assessed using a standard questionnaire tool measuring discomfort along several dimensions (headache, eyestrain, nervousness, boredom, sleepiness, dizziness, light-headedness, increased body temperature, nausea) in subjects who participated in drives in an interactive, fixed-base driving simulator. Multiple linear regressions were used to determine the relationship between driver visual characteristics, specifically far visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and useful field of view (UFOV), and simulator discomfort. Neurological condition, UFOV condition, and contrast sensitivity did not significantly predict SAS. While drivers with worse far visual acuity reported greater eyestrain and boredom, drivers with better far visual acuity reported more dizziness, lightheadedness, and nausea. In short, it appears that poorer vision protects against SAS. The authors suggest visual and vestibular conflict may be greater in drivers with better visual acuity because of the greater number of potential conflicting cues being received by their visual system.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: DVD
  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 15p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 89th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers DVD

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01156948
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 10-1747
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Jan 25 2010 10:47AM