Date of Award

Fall 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Director

J. Christopher Brill

Committee Member

Mark Scerbo

Committee Member

James Paulson


Spatial disorientation is a major contributor to aircraft mishaps. One potential contributing factor is vection, an illusion of self-motion. Although vection is commonly thought of as a visual illusion, it can also be produced through audition. The purpose of the current experiment was to explore interactions between conflicting visual and auditory vection cues, specifically with regard to the speed and direction of rotation. The ultimate goal was to explore the extent to which aural vection could diminish or enhance the perception of visual vection. The study used a 3 × 2 within-groups factorial design. Participants were exposed to three levels of aural rotation velocity (slower, matched, and faster, relative to visual rotation speed) and two levels of aural rotational congruence (congruent or incongruent rotation) including two control conditions (visual and aural-only). Dependent measures included vection onset time, vection direction judgements, subjective vection strength ratings, vection speed ratings, and horizontal nystagmus frequency. Subjective responses to motion were assessed pre and post treatment, and oculomotor responses were assessed before, during, and following exposure to circular vection. The results revealed a significant effect of stimulus condition on vection strength. Specifically, directionally-congruent aural-visual vection resulted in significantly stronger vection than visual and aural vection alone. Perceptions of directionally-congruent aural-visual vection were slightly stronger vection than directionally-incongruent aural-visual vection, but not significantly so. No significant effects of aural rotation velocity on vection strength were observed. The results suggest directionally-incongruent aural vection could be used as a countermeasure for visual vection and directionally-congruent aural vection could be used to improve vection in virtual environments, provided further research is done.


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