Perception of Self-Motion in Virtual Reality

Perception of self-motion is under natural circumstances a multi-modal experience. Both visual and non-visual information (i.e. proprioceptive, efference copy and vestibular cues) provide rich and partly redundant information about self-motion. This research project investigates how sensory information from different modalities is combined in the vection illusion, which is an illusion of self-motion in stationary observers that can be induced by visual and other sensory stimulation. We also investigated how perceptual and cognitive factors influence the vection illusion.
In a series of experiments, participants were required to judge the onset and strength of vection in either purely visual, or combined visual-auditory, visual-vestibular, or visual-somatosensory conditions. The multi-sensory conditions provided consistent multi-sensory stimulation, for example, a moving sound source that moved coherently with a matching visual target.
Results demonstrated that vection was increased by consistent multi-sensory stimulation such that vection onset latencies were reduced and compellingness ratings were increased. The strongest effect was found for combined visual-vestibular stimulation, where minimalist physical motion cues were provided. We also found that cognitive factors, such as attention and the feeling of presence in the virtual environment, had an influence on perceived vection. These findings have implications for both our theoretical understanding of self-motion perception, as well as motion simulation applications.
Last updated: Tuesday, 07.05.2013