By Christopher Madan

Some individuals report experiencing motion sickness when navigating virtual environments. While field-of-view may mediate this effect (Bos et al., 2010), perspective may be another relevant factor. With respect to imagery, first-person perspective has been associated with a greater degree of embodiment than a third-person perspective (Madan & Singhal, 2012; Moran et al., 2015). Participants often navigate a virtual environment from a first-person perspective (e.g., building the environment in a first-person shooter, such as Half-Life 2; Legge et al., 2012). Would these individuals still experience motion sickness if a third-person perspective was used?

Third-person perspective is not without its flaws. By having a visible avatar (e.g., from an over-the-shoulder camera), rather than viewing the environment from the avatar's eyes, there is less immersion-- navigating a virtual environment from this perspective is less similar to how one navigates in the real world. Nonetheless, many games that are presented from the first-person perspective switch to a third-person view during certain activities, e.g., driving. Third-person virtual navigation is also more artificial as it unnaturally allows the player to see around corners and other obstacles, though some games use a third-person perspective precisely for this purpose (e.g., Gears of War). Interestingly, a handful of games allow the player to actively switch perspectives (e.g., Fallout 3, Skyrim, The Talos Principle). Investigating if a third-person perspective can attenuate this induced motion sickness would further our understanding of the role of embodiment in virtual navigation.


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Christopher Madan



Published: 11 Feb, 2015

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