A new study shows listening to joyful music can reduce cybersickness--motion sickness from virtual reality experiences. The intensity of the nausea-related symptoms of cybersickness significantly decreased when people listened to upbeat and calming music.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh examined the effects of music in a virtual reality environment among 39 people aged between 22 and 36. A series of tests assessed how cybersickness affected memory skills by recording reading speed and reaction times, according to a press statement by The University of Edinburgh.
Participants were immersed in a virtual environment, experiencing three roller coaster rides aimed at inducing cybersickness. Two of the rides were accompanied by electronic music with no lyrics or music that was considered calming or joyful in a previous study. The findings showed that joyful music significantly decreased the intensity of cybersickness which was associated with a temporary reduction in verbal working memory test scores and a decrease in pupil size. It also showed that higher levels of gaming experience were associated with lower cybersickness, according to the statement.
These findings show how music can be used to reduce cybersickness and better understand how the gaming experience is linked to cybersickness levels. The researchers suggest calming or joyful music to reduce cybersickness in immersive virtual reality. In educational and clinical settings, virtual reality is often used as a tool but motion sickness can temporally reduce thinking skills and slow down reaction times, according to the statement. Using music as an intervention could promote more extensive use of virtual reality in different spaces such as education.
Virtual reality could help shift from conventional virtual learning and enable a more interactive experience where students and teachers can communicate and share, overcoming space and time limitations, as pointed out by the World Economic Forum in May 2022.
Furthermore, when virtual reality is used as a classroom tool, teachers can create a more collaborative environment. Its integration into traditional teaching can create a unique experience adapted to each student's ability, style, pace and drive to learn. A recent study shows how addressing issues related to virtual reality can help in smoother adoption.